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

Sunday, December 5, 2010

December 6, 2010 Major News Stories

Cebu official asked to prove vote-buying

CEBU CITY -- The man who wants to lead all 80 barangay captains in Cebu City needs to file a complaint if he can prove fellow captains received cash to vote for his rival, an official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.

Busay Barangay Captain Eliodoro "Yodi" Sanchez took some heat on Sunday from administration party officials who, like the DILG, urged him to prove vote-buying ahead of Tuesday's election of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC).

"Dili man gyud pud na maayo nga magpataka lang ug pasangil. (It's not good to make unfounded accusations.) If he has proof, he can file a complaint at the DILG or the Office of the Ombudsman," DILG-Central Visayas Director Dr. Pedro Noval said.

Sanchez, in a separate interview, denied his rival's quip that he is getting "frustrated" by the thought of losing in Tuesday's polls. A seat in the Cebu City Council is at stake.

"I'm not frustrated. I'm just stating the facts. In a way, I'm already the underdog because Tommy (Rep. Tomas Osmeña) is with him (T. Padilla barangay captain Michael Ralota)," Sanchez said.

Sanchez said he did receive text messages saying some barangay captains received P1,000 each from Ralota during a lunch meeting last week.

He also claimed that Ralota gave some captains P5,000 each when Osmeña polled them to find out who they preferred between Ralota and Capitol Site barangay captain Manuel Guanzon.

"Pasagdi na lang na si Yodi kay frustrated na siguro na siya mao nga pataka na lang ug pasangil. Dili na tinuod nga namalit ta ug boto. In the first place, wa koy kwarta. Ikaduha, usa ka libo ra diay ang presyo sa mga barangay kapitan? (Let Yodi say what he wants. Perhaps he's frustrated, that's why he's making these wild accusations. It's not true I paid for votes. First, I have no money for that. Second, is he saying the barangay captains will sell their votes for P1,000?)," Ralota asked.

As of Sunday, Sanchez said he was not inclined to make a formal complaint on the alleged vote-buying.

"That is the problem," said Mayor Michael Rama in a separate interview. "Some people make statements and highlight personalities, but will not make it a formal complaint. That's not fair."

Rama said he will offer a mass on Tuesday for peaceful ABC elections.
Outgoing ABC president Eugenio "Jingjing" Faelnar said there was no need to bribe the barangay captains and added that never happened in previous federation elections.

"Wala na kinahanglana nang pagpalit ug mga boto kay mag-agad ra man gyud nang mga barangay kapitan sa i-indorso ni Tommy (There's not need to buy votes because the captains really just wait for whom Tommy will endorse)," Faelnar said.

Osmeña defended Ralota and, at the same time, expressed his dismay over Sanchez's allegation.

"Dili ko ganahan sa iyang mga (I don't like his) comments. He's going to lose anyway. Nadaut na ang reputasyon sa ABC iya pang pun-an (The ABC's reputation has suffered and he wants to make things worse)," Osmeña said.

Allegations about substandard or overpriced ABC infrastructure projects in the barangays recently caused a rift between Osmeña and Faelnar.

The congressman challenged Sanchez to prove his allegation by showing the text messages he received from the barangay captains, about the alleged vote-buying.

Osmeña added he will ignore the barangay captain from now on.

Sanchez, however, said he wants to apologize to the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan for the rift, but that he only wants to change some things in the ABC.

Sanchez said he hopes his conflict with Ralota will end once the federation elections are over and the ABC can still act "as one non-partisan organization." He said he will support Ralota if the latter wins.

Sanchez has gained the support of Santa Cruz Barangay Captain Jerome Lim, who is running for ABC director after being junked when Ralota and Guanzon joined forces to make one line-up.

Lim was in Guanzon's line-up.

Ralota admits he invited barangay chiefs to a party

T. Padilla barangay captain Michael Ralota, who aspires to become president of the Association of Barangay Councils, yesterday confirmed he invited barangay captains to a Christmas party he organized tonight.

12 multi-termer barangay chiefs won in Oct. polls - DILG

Twelve multi-termer barangay (village) chairpersons won in October's synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) elections and were proclaimed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.
The information came from the National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO), which said in a report to the DILG that of the 4,404 village heads across the country who have been holding their posts for three or more consecutive terms, 26 ran in the October 25 polls. 

NBOO Director John Castañeda identified the 12 victorious multi-termers as:

- Enrique Bautista (Brgy Barrientos, Luna, La Union);
- Noel Lomboy (Brgy. Ribusan, Naguilian, La Union);
- Douglas Hagedorn (Brgy. San Miguel, Puerto Princesa City);
- Rogelio Carbonell (Brgy. Old Moriones, Ocampo, Camarines Sur);
- Ofelia Pati-on (Brgy. Tabun-ac, Toboso, Negros Occidental);
- Gregorio Canda (Brgy. Botoc Occ., Loay, Bohol);
- Bartolome Figueroa (Brgy. Bagacay, Daram, Samar);
- Bienvenido Tubog (Brgy. New Kidapawan, Kibawe, Bukidnon);
- Mario Cajucom (Brgy. 3, Caloocan);
- Conrado Cruz (Brgy. 12, Caloocan); 
- Vicente Que (Brgy. 106, Caloocal); and
- Othello Ocampo (Brgy. 136, Caloocan)

According to Castañeda's report, all the 12 winners were formally proclaimed by the Comelec based on verification conducted by his office with the concerned DILG regional offices. 

It added that save for Ofelia Pati-on of Brgy. Tabun-ac in Toboso, Negros Occidental, the other 11 winners have pending electoral protests filed against them. 

The DILG submitted to the Comelec in September a list of barangay heads who were on their third or fourth consecutive terms and were disqualified to run for re-election 

The prohibition is in accordance with Section 2 of Republic Act 9164 or An Act Providing for the Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, which states that no barangay elective official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. 

The Comelec, however, in a resolution issued on November 15, still proclaimed the village chiefs who won in the October 25 polls but whose names were found on the list of multi-termers submitted by the DILG. 

The Comelec resolution said the concerned candidates were not given the chance to explain why they should not be barred from running in the elections.

To stop 2011 budget approval: Greg hopes RTC would grant TRO

With a Provincial Board made up mainly of allies of the governor, their presiding officer, Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez is now banking on the courts to help him stop the approval of the 2011 budget, which will be tackled in this afternoon's session.

PJ to Saavedra: Put your accusations under oath

Cebu third district Rep. Pablo John Garcia challenged self-styled whistleblower Crisologo Saavedra to put his accusations against him and the latter's call for a lifestyle check on him under oath.

Pinoys should avoid lavish Christmas parties: Palace

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos were advised on Sunday to avoid lavish Christmas parties and take it easy on the traditional roast pig in keeping with President Benigno Aquino's austerity measures for the mainly Catholic country. 

DepEd head reminds schools: Keep Xmas parties simple

In another step to make education more affordable, Education Secretary Armin Luistro is discouraging costly holiday parties. He is already trying to control the collection of fees from public school pupils for such causes as the Red Cross. Students are often asked to donate to school parties and charities.
Luistro issued the reminder to officials of some 43,000 public elementary and high schools throughout the country, radio station dzRH reported.

Luistro said it is not practical to spend so much for just one occasion, especially if the students' families cannot afford it.

No-collection policy in schools

Luistro earlier already warned public school officials not to collect various "fees" from students.

Under the DepEd's no-collection policy, no fees shall be collected from children enrolling in pre-school up to Grade IV at any time during the school year.

For school levels above Grade IV, there should be no collection during the enrollment period and the first month of classes.

Contributions should be "purely voluntary" and may only start in the second month of every school year.

This policy covers contributions for Boy Scouts of the Philippines, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Red Cross, Anti-Tuberculosis Fund and Parent-Teacher Associations.

Regulating the non-tuition costs of public education has been part of the DepEd's more aggressive effort to keep every school-age child in school as part of its "Education for All " commitment, a promise of 100-percent enrollment of all children of school age by 2015. 

Luistro said the no-collection policy is one of the government's anti-poverty measures.

The DepEd has also prohibited all public schools from imposing on students the wearing of uniforms or identification cards which could also be a financial burden for parents.

Government has allotted a budget to shoulder the expense for identification cards.

Also, Luistro made it clear that Parent-Teacher Associations are the only entity allowed to collect voluntary financial contributions.

But he said the non-payment of contributions by parents shall not be a basis for non-admission or non-issuance of clearances to the child by the school.

"No teacher or any school personnel shall be involved in such collection activities," he said.

Luistro said his department is duty-bound to make sure children are in school, and such fees may discourage parents from sending their children to school.

"Our goal here is to lessen the worries of parents about school fees which is one of the reasons why many children are out of school or have dropped out in the middle of schooling. If schools are collecting fees, they will be discouraging enrollment especially among the very poor. This is also why we have taken serious action against schools officials violating this policy," Luistro said.

He advised concerned citizens to report any violation of these policies through DepEd's hotline at 6361663,or email at

Muslims to celebrate New Year on Tuesday sans firecrackers, banquets

Muslims will celebrate New Year's Day on Tuesday but unlike their Christian brethren, they will not light firecrackers or set off fireworks displays to celebrate.

Nationwide labor inspection activities suspended

MANILA, Philippines—Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has issued Administrative Order No. 443, Series of 2010 suspending all labor standards enforcement activities all over the country effective December 1.

Customs personnel at NAIA mull not reporting for work

by By Recto L. Mercene, Business Mirror
MANILA, Philippines - In a last-ditch effort to compel airline carriers to pay their overtime services, Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) will stop work after 5 p.m. on weekdays and will not report for work during Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

BI employees told to stay off nearby cafés, restos

Employees of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) have been disallowed from visiting nearby commercial establishments during office hours following reports that these places have become venues for agents engaging in shady deals.

Law to regulate imported meat

THE city veterinarian warns market vendors against selling imported meat as local produce.

Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries Chief Dr. Alice Utlang made this pronouncement following a new set of guidelines from the National Meat Inspection Services (NMIS) on the sale of frozen meat.

Utlang told Sun.Star Cebu there are reports some vendors wash frozen or chilled meat then pass it off as local meat.

Imported meat arrives in the country frozen or chilled to keep its freshness.
However, some unscrupulous meat vendors thaw the frozen product by using boiling water.

Rehab of city abattoir pushed

The Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries wants to upgrade the Cebu City Abattoir according to standards required by the National Meat Inspection Services.

Strike to push through if VECO snubs settlement

The Visayan Electric Company Employees Union is asking President Benigno Aquino III, Cebu Archbishop Cardinal Vidal and Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to help them convince the VECO management to agree to an amicable settlement through mediation.

3 judges' associations try to drum up support for protests vs. budget cuts

IN SESSION, judges wear black.

The presidents of three organizations of judges requested them and their court personnel to wear black as well in their flag-raising ceremony today.

College asks mayor: Stay out

THE president of the Mandaue City College said yesterday his suspicions against Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes will be proven true if the City Government helps the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) close the school.

"If they would help Ched, then that would justify my suspicions that Mayor Jonas Cortes was behind the closure order against us," said Dr. Paulus Mariae Cañete, MCC president.

Mayor Cortes declined to comment on the closure issue, as there are pending cases between him and Cañete.

Ombud junks case vs airport official, school owner

THE anti-graft office rejected a complaint businessman Crisologo Saavedra filed against a Mactan airport official and an owner of an aeronautics school.

Graft investigator Maria Corazon Vergara-Naraja, in a resolution, said there was not enough evidence that the officials falsified academic credentials so the airport official could get appointed.

Auditors question absence of bidding in Consolacion deals

TOWN officials failed to account for properties amounting to P209 million, the Commission on Audit's (COA) report on Consolacion's transactions in 2009 said.

State auditors have yet to receive an inventory report from the town, although the town officials, in last year's audit report, said they have already conducted a physical inventory of the town's properties.

The New Government Accounting System Manual requires town officials to submit an inventory report not later than Jan. 31 of each year.

COA on pro-poor funds: Why was money used for gym?

The Commission on Audit has directed Dumanjug to explain why the P500,000 for the town's pro-poor program was used to improve its gym.

Development council supports request to fund study on north bulk water

EFFORTS to secure funding to study a bulk water supply system for northern Cebu gained support from a committee of the Regional Development Council (RDC).

The Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) passed a resolution recommending to the RDC 7 the request of Rep. Rachel del Mar (Cebu City, north district) for funding for the pre-feasibility study.

House probe sought on HIV surge

MANILA, Philippines – Congress should investigate the rising number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country, a party-list lawmaker said Sunday.

PNoy urged to uphold children's rights

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino children continue to live in dangerous times under the Aquino presidency, human rights activists claimed Sunday. 

Some rich countries let poor kids down—UN

MANILA—Italy, the United States, Greece, Belgium, and the United Kingdom top a list of two dozen rich countries that let their most vulnerable children fall even further behind, with enormous consequences not only for the kids themselves but for the economy and society at large, said a new United Nations report.

Protestant, Christian churches back RH bill

A council of Protestant and other Christian churches in the Philippines has expressed its support for the controversial reproductive health bill in Congress, which would mandate government to promote artificial and natural birth control methods, to encourage couples to plan their family sizes.

AFP respects plan of army officer not to tap amnesty

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not force Major Jason Aquino to avail of the amnesty issued by President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III. 

Army seizes rebel camp in Northern Samar

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Army has seized another New People's Army camp in Northern Samar as part of an intensified counter-insurgency campaign there.

Enrile skeptical about communist rebels' return to negotiating table

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has expressed skepticism about the sincerity of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front in returning to the negotiating table with the Aquino government.

In exile, Joma Sison yearns for mangoes, mountains

UTRECHT, The Netherlands—He dreams of home constantly, and yearns for mangoes and the mountains that he traveled in his youth.

Aquino: 'Morong 43' fate up to courts

President Benigno Aquino III said on Sunday he would let the courts decide the fate of the Morong 43 who have been seeking their release from a 10-month-old military detention.

Hundreds flee from North Cotabato village as militiamen, MILF rebels clash

Hundreds of civilians from a remote village of this town fled to safer ground when a clash between militiamen and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels erupted over the weekend, police and military officials said on Sunday.

Kin of kidnapped principal optimistic she's still alive

BONGAO, Tawi-tawi, Philippines—The relatives of kidnapped Basilan school principal Cecilia Sosas said they were optimistic about her coming home one day, despite rumors she had been killed or have died in captivity.

DOJ chief wants guns for lawyers, judges

by Agence France-Presse
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines' justice secretary on Sunday backed calls to allow judges and lawyers to carry firearms amid a rising incidence of attacks targeting them.

Pnoy, Ochoa names used in scam

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. have sought Batangas Vice-Governor Mark Leviste's financial help for a cancer victim.

10 Chinese seafarers still missing off Batanes

 MANILA, Philippines – Ten Chinese crewmen of a Panama-registered cargo vessel remained missing in the waters off Batanes after their ship sank late Friday, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Sunday.

$1: 43.880

$1: 43.880 (P43.83)

Euro 1: 57.9766

Iran reports nuclear advance before Geneva talks

by Reuters
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran will use domestically produced uranium concentrates for the first time at a key plant in its nuclear programme on Sunday, a senior official said, a day before the Islamic state resumes talks with world powers. 

Taiwan warned against jailing ex-leader's wife

The family of jailed former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian urged the government on Sunday not to imprison his wheelchair-bound wife as well.

Thai king leaves hospital for 83rd birthday

Thailand's king, the world's longest reigning monarch, on Sunday left the hospital where he has been staying for over a year to join elaborate celebrations and make a speech to mark his 83rd birthday.

Donaire thanks fans, gears up for Montiel

by By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
MANILA, Philippines — Right after toppling Ukranian Wladimir Sidorenko on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire Jr. thanked Filipino fans who have supported him in his interim World Boxing Association (WBA) bantamweight title conquest.

Soto keeps lightweight crown with narrow decision

by Agence France-Presse
ANAHEIM, USA - Humberto Soto outlasted Mexican compatriot Urbano Antillon to win a 12-round unanimous decision on Saturday and keep his World Boxing Council lightweight crown with a 10th victory in a row. 

Texters take gloss off Elasto Painters

by The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Talk n Text leaned on a strong finish Saturday night to ward off Rain or Shine, 86-81, and again catch up with Barangay Ginebra at second place entering the homestretch of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup elimination phase.

Heat pull away from Hawks late in win (AP)

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) shoots as Atlanta Hawks guard Jamal Crawford (11) defends in the first quarter during an NBA basketball game in Miami, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010. At left are Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) and forward Marvin Williams (24).

LeBron James' new fan base in Miami had a response. So did his teammates. Chris Bosh scored 27 points, Dwyane Wade added 26 and the Miami Heat scored 11 straight points in the final minutes to beat the Atlanta Hawks 89-77 on Saturday night -- winning their fourth straight to move a season-high five games over .500.

Mavericks rally for ninth straight win (AP)

Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd , right, pass off against Sacramento Kings guard Beno Udrih , left, of Slovenia, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010.

Long an offensive team that often regarded defense as an afterthought, the Dallas Mavericks have definitely altered that philosophy this season The Mavericks are statistical leaders in several defensive categories, and showed why in their latest victory. Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points, Jason Terry had 23 and the Mavericks rallied for their ninth straight win, 105-103 over the Sacramento Kings.

Rose carries Bulls past Rockets in OT (AP)

Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts as he watches his team play against the Houston Rockets during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010, in Chicago.

Derrick Rose got the opening he needed with the game on the line. Rose hit a 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer and finished with 30 points to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Houston Rockets 119-116 in overtime Saturday night. "They just gave me a little daylight, and I shot the ball," Rose said.

Anita Linda named best actress in Asia-Pacific film fest

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran actress Anita Linda grabbed the best leading actress award at the 54th Asia-Pacific Film Festival (APFF).

Filipino math aces top tourney in India

A group of young Filipino numbers aces did the country proud by topping the just-concluded 2010 International Young Mathematicians' Convention (IYMC) in Lucknow, India.

Sharon details reconciliation with Aga

MANILA, Philippines – Apologies were exchanged and accepted. This was how Sharon Cuneta described her recent talk with Aga Muhlach that resulted in their reconciliation.

Angelica says she's adopted

Actress finally meets real father MANILA, Philippines – Angelica Panganiban, who recently met her American father in the United States, has revealed that she is an adopted child.

Miss India wins Miss Earth 2010

by by Ginger Conejero, ABS-CBN News
Vietnam - India's Nicole Faria, 20, has been crowned Miss Earth 2010, beating 83 other contestants.

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