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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 13, 2011 Major News Stories

January 13, 2011 Major News Stories
January 13, 2011 Major News Stories

Early registration for public schools on Jan. 29


MANILA, Philippines - Registration for kindergarten, Grade 1, and incoming first year high school students in public schools has been scheduled for January 29, 2011, according to the Department of Education (DepEd).

Palace mulls over declaring Feb. 3 a holiday

President Benigno Aquino III has ordered Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. to look into the possibility of declaring the start of the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 3, a holiday.

DOH offers 10,000 nursing jobs in poor communities


MANILA, Philippines - Filipino nurses looking for a job can apply for a new Department of Health program that will deploy unemployed nurses to poor communities in the country.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the project RN HEALS addresses the shortage of skilled and experienced nurses in 1,221 rural and unserved or underserved communities for one year.

"It seeks to make essential health services available to all Filipinos by training and deploying 10,000 unemployed nurses in communities to be identified by the DOH in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare & Development," he said in a statement.

Ona said nurses chosen for the project will receive P8,000 monthly allowance from the health department. He encouraged local government units where the nurses will be assigned to give an additional P2,000 worth of allowances and benefits.

Registered nurses who are physically and mentally fit, and willing to serve in their municipalities may apply online at the DOLE website ( from January 17 to February 4 this year.

Preference will be given to residents of the municipalities covered by the Health Facilities Enhancement Program of DOH and Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the Conditional Cash Transfer of the DSWD.

"Eventually, these nurses will be part of the pool of competent nurses for later employment or absorption in health facilities, thus addressing the inadequate supply of skilled nurses and increasing the nurses' employment rate," the health secretary said.

TESDA safety retraining of PUV drivers set

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority will pilot on Monday its three-day safety retraining of public utility vehicle drivers, the agency chief said.

3 dead, thousands evacuated as floods hit Visayas areas

Three people drowned and 6,082 families in Negros Occidental were displaced when floods spawned by heavy rain that occurred in parts of Eastern and Western Visayas on Tuesday.

Rains inundate more areas in PH; 40 die

Disaster officials say heavy monsoon rains drenching the eastern Philippines for two weeks have drowned seven more people, pushing the death toll to 40 with seven missing.

Baby’s death provokes inquiry

by cebuweb

HEALTH officials are investigating the death of an eight-month-old boy in Minglanilla town last Sunday who is believed to have suffered from meningococcemia.

But Regional Epidemiologist Rennan Cimafranca said yesterday that while the boy showed symptoms of the disease, they have yet to verify the circumstances to confirm if it was meningococcemia or not.

As new Archbishop of Cebu Palma installed today

by By Ryan Christopher J. Sorote

Bishop Jose Palma arrived yesterday for his installation as the new archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cebu today.

On board Philippine Airlines Flight PR 857, Palma landed shortly before 3 p.m. at the Mactan Cebu International Airport, where he was welcomed by Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Julito Cortes, Msgr. Achilles Dakay and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza.

At the airport’s Most Important People (MIP) area, Palma was met by Msgr. Cayetano Gelbolingo, Rev. Fr. Augustine Polong, Fr. Jaime Duero, Cebu City Mayor Michel Rama, Central Command chief Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva and Regional Police Director Ager Ontog.

When Palma emerged from the MIP main door, he was bewildered to see a group of men and women from the Visayan Forum Foundation Inc. chanting his name to welcome him.

In proceeding to the Archbishops Palace, Palma’s convoy passed waiving schoolchildren and parishioners along the way.

The motorcade passed with ease through the major thoroughfares of Mandue City. Classes of schools along Palma’s route momentarily stopped as students went out to welcome him.

Some establishments also stopped their operations to let their employees join in welcoming Palma.

Yesterday’s 3 p.m. session of the Mandaue City Council was delayed for awhile as Mayor Jonas Cortes and the councilors met Palma, who made a three-minute stop at the city to mingle with Mandauehanons.

Students of St. Joseph Academy also presented a Sinulog dance in front of St Joseph Parish to welcome Palma.

Palma, in a statement after a brief talk with Cortes, said he was overwhelmed by the crowd that gathered to welcome him. His caravan then proceeded to Cebu City.

When Palma’s convoy passed Barangay Mabolo, hundreds of students from Mabolo Central School and parishioners headed by Fr. Joselito Danao gathered to great him.

The bells of Mabolo Parish Church rang as a sign of his arrival.

Palma’s convoy arrived at the Archbishops Palace where he was welcomed by his predecessor, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, at the St. Joseph Chapel.

Upon entering the chapel, Palma was handed a crucifix which he kissed as a symbol of his strong faith. He then blessed the faithful and himself with holy water.

Vidal opened the ceremony with a prayer asking God to guide and bless Palma as “as pastor of Christ” and to “watch over” his flock.

Following a deacon’s reading of a gospel, Palma knelt down and professed his faith through the Nicene Creed.

Palma then delivered his “oath of fidelity” in Latin, placing his hand on the Book of Gospels as an act of loyalty to the pope with the promise to protect the church.

Towards the end of the ceremony, Palma blessed the faithful which include members of the clergy, the parishioners and the media.

Palma said: “Nagasalig ako nga kita mga Cebuano magkahiusa kita ug magbuligay kita, mag inabangay aron atong probinsya ug simabahan motubo ug molambo.”

He is confident that he will have no problem adapting to his new place because he knows the capabilities of Cebuanos.


In his speech after dinner at the Sacred Heart Center, Vidal said: “I thank the Lord that he has given me the opportunity to welcome my successor, to install him in his cathedra and to wish him all the Lord’s blessings as he assumes office as archbishop of Cebu.”

“It is my wish this spirit of gratitude that I welcome Archbishop Joe Palma to his Archdiocese…Cebu might be a dynamo of progress in the Philippine but as you will see later in your first fiesta señor as Archbishop of Cebu, it is also a dynamo of faith,” Vidal said.

While Vidal is leaving his seat to his successor, he said he is not worried as he believes that Cebuanos will always help Palma.

Lawyer Pat Acabodillo, who will represent the entire lay community at Palma’s installation today, assured the new archbishop of full support of the lay community.


Today at 9 a.m. at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Palma will be installed and the new archbishop of Cebu.

Expected to attend are members of his family from Jaro, Ilo-ilo and friends from former assignments in Palo and Calbayog, Leyte.

Only pre-identified personnel are allowed to occupy the front pews of the cathedral, which are reserved for Palma’s family, friends, Cebu clergymen, bishops and guests.

The highlight of the installation will be when Palma is escorted by Vidal to the cathedra, which will symbolize the transfer of seat.

After the three-hour installation rites, Palma and guests will proceed to the Cebu International Convention Center for a thanksgiving lunch.

Devotee City to shelter 3T visitors

by cebuweb

THE Cebu City Government will be opening the Devotee City 2011 for pilgrims starting tomorrow, two days before the Sinulog grand parade.

Over the years, the Devotee City has strived to improve as shelter for out-of-town vendors and pilgrims.

To accommodate the 3,000 devotees expected to flock to the city, 110 container vans are being set up, nearly two dozen more than the 87 container vans last Sinulog.

In a news conference yesterday, the organizing committee headed by City Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias laid down the guidelines for entry at the Devotee City at Compaña Maritima.

UP student wins Miss Cebu

by cebuweb

A MASS communication student of the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu bagged the Miss Cebu crown last night, besting 12 others.

Asked by the judges how she would help in nation-building, 19-year-old Mia Zeeba Faridoon of UP said she can make a contribution by sticking to her values and sharing her knowledge.

Based on how the contestants answered, Teffanie Lene Llamada and Vanessa Claudine Ammann gave the most challenging questions. Llamada was judged first runner-up while Ammann, who got the most cheers from the audience, got the second runner-up title.

Rosemary Gore was third runner-up.

At least two of the candidates found their fellow candidates’ questions too challenging or were just too nervous and could not utter a word during the first round of questions.

The audience had to egg on one candidate, who paused in midsentence while trying to answer whether she prefers happy endings to new beginnings. She finally said happy endings are better because having new beginnings meant the prior experiences had been failures. The question was written by Llamada, a registered nurse.

Another candidate was asked what object would best describe Cebu, a question formulated by Ammann. Aiko Lyanne Serrano chose the guitar, saying the way the musical instrument is made “represents the true beauty of the Cebuanos.”

Serrano landed in fourth place.

Aside from the crown and the title, Faridoon—who was also named Kapamilya Star of the Night—got P50,000 in cash.

All five winners will get free trips to Hong Kong.

Llamada won the best gown award while Ammann was named Miss Friendship by her fellow candidates.

Other winners include Katrina Raye Yuson for Miss Photogenic and Philil Tampus as best designer. Tampus’s creations were worn by Katrina Jane Esmas.

The candidates and the audience were entertained by two singers and a magician. True to this year’s Sinulog celebration theme, the contestants wore Chinese-inspired dresses for the opening number.

Tangub City contingent to show new dance steps in title defense

by cebuweb

WITH a new dance routine, Tribu Sinanduloy of Tangub City, Misamis Occidental will try to defend their title as the best contingent for the Sinulog-based category in this Sunday’s grand parade.

Chelo Gripo, senior trainer of the Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe, said their presentation will be different from what they performed in the previous years.

“Everything is new. It’s simple and it’s different if you compare it with what we showed the audience before. Mas lami, mas nindot,” she said.

Police brace for huge volume of tourists on Sinulog day

by By Niña G. Sumacot and Jessica Ann R. Pareja/FPL

Tourist action centers, desks, and command posts will be set up all over the city this Sunday for the Sinulog grand parade.

Senior Supt. Ernesto Agas, head of the Regional Operations and Plans Division which operates Task Force Turista, said they anticipate a bigger volume of local and international tourists to join the Sinulog revelries.

Agas said that tourist centers have also been set up in other parts of the region to cater the needs of the tourists.

“There are tourist action centers na makikita ninyo regionwide which will be ready enough to provide the needs of the tourists,” Agas said.

Agas said that advanced command posts will also be set up in each of the eight sectors of the parade route. These posts will be manned by policemen who will cater to the complaints and other concerns of the public especially of the tourists.

Tourists can also report to the tourist desks in the 11 police stations under the Cebu City Police Office.

Chief Supt. Ager Ontog, director of Police Regional Office-7, said the Sinulog festival is not just a local celebration. It is an international event that never fails to draw a big crowd including several foreigners.

“We’re aware of the great task that’s why we’ve prepared very early, as early as few months ago,” Ontog said, adding that they will be having a massive deployment of troops.

The PRO-7 director said that even the policemen in Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor are tasked to help as look-out to Cebu for any criminal element that will mar the big event.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District is setting up 21 drinking stations along the parade route to provide the public with potable water.

Charmaine Rodriguez, MCWD public affairs department manager, said the faucets will be set up on Friday but will be used only on the Sinulog day.

She appealed to the barangay officials and concerned residents to help secure the faucets saying that every year they had to lose some faucets to thieves.

Rodriguez said they have set up the same number of water stab outs last year but three were stolen before the grand parade which affected their operation.

During the grand parade MCWD will assign volunteers to each drinking station to ensure there will be no abuse. Everyone is free to get drinking water until their supply of plastic cups lasts.

Rodriguez assured that the water will be safe to drink as it will undergo the chlorination process to make it potable.

The water that will be consumed will be accounted but the organizers of the Sinulog Festival will not be charged even a single centavo.

MCWD has been providing free water along the parade route for years as a form of public service. They will also provide free water to devotees at the Devotee City.

Garcia heeds Rama's advice on Sinulog aid

by By Gregg M. Rubio/FPL

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia obliged herself to the suggestion of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to give financial aid to the contingents from the municipalities and component cities of the province instead of giving it to the Sinulog Foundation.

Garcia said that while the Capitol is in good financial condition to help both the contingents from the province and the foundation but she finds the suggestion to be good.

“Maybe they have enough funds. . . but dili pud ta mamugos, ug ayaw mo di h’wag,” she said.

Garcia stressed that when the province offered financial assistance to the Sinulog Foundation it does not mean that it is no longer giving assistance to the municipalities and component cities.

“He may not probably know that this is not either or,” Garcia said.

Garcia earlier said that she will also be giving assistance to 10 contingents from component cities and towns who won in the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan if they ask for it.

The five contingents for the secondary category is led by Carcar Schools Division as winner while the other five for elementary category is led by San Roque Elementary School of Talisay City Division.

The governor has made an announcement that the Capitol is willing to provide assistance to SFI provided the foundation sends them a request.

Last year, the province donated P2 million to SFI for the Sinulog celebration.

But Rama said he would prefer that the province will directly give its assistance to the contingents from the province to assist in their preparation for the grand parade on Sunday.

There will be 10 elementary schools and high schools from the province participating this Sunday. They were the winners of the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan held last Saturday.

The mayor clarified that he is not refusing the offer of the province but is only suggesting a better way they can help.

He said that the city has already provided P12 million for the prizes while there are many sponsors from the private sectors.

The SFI targeted to raise at least P27 million for the Sinulog grand parade. Of this amount, the city government shouldered the P12 million which will be exclusive for the prizes. SFI is confident to raise the P15 million and even more.

Larsian road open for Sinulog; frats to beef up security force

by cebuweb

THE Cebu Provincial Government has agreed to open an access road near the Fuente Osmeña rotunda during the Sinulog weekend to decongest traffic in the area.

To beef up security forces, members of Akrho and Tau Gamma will help maintain peace and order during the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday.

Robredo meet Gwen over 93-1 lot issue

by By Gregg M. Rubio/FPL

Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo is reportedly coming to Cebu tomorrow for another round of talks with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on the 93-1 issue.

Court junks City Hall’s move to collect business tax from private hospital

by cebuweb

THE court struck down the Cebu City Government’s attempt to enforce its tax ordinance on a private hospital.

Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr. ruled that City Tax Ordinance 113 cannot be imposed on Perpetual Succour Hospital Inc. (PSH), even if the latter “does not behave as a non-stock, non-profit corporation.”

Barangay treasurers as taxmen

by By Garry B. Lao/LPM

After her order stopping barangays from collecting payments for community tax certificates or cedula, Cebu City treasurer Ofelia Oliva wants to deputize barangay treasurers to collect real property taxes in a bid to increase tax collection.

MOD sells items confiscated from vendors?

by By Rene U. Borromeo/WAB

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday said the city will look into allegations that City Market Administrator Raquel Arce sold some of the items confiscated by her personnel from the vendors at the Carbon Public Market.

‘Ecleo didn’t bother to call wife during absence’

by cebuweb

DESPITE the presence of a death certificate showing that his wife was murdered, cult leader and Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. believes that Alona Bacolod is not dead, but missing.

Ecleo, who was cross-examined yesterday after failing to appear in three hearings last year, told the court he believes that his wife is still alive as a DNA examination conducted on Alona’s exhumed corpse had not been conclusive.

Based on the results of the DNA examination, Ecleo believes that his wife was “most probably” missing.

‘Indigenous tribe’ fails to get seats in Mandaue council

by cebuweb

THE Mandaue City Council rejected a group of 10 “indigenous” persons who wanted to install their representatives during the regular session yesterday.

Calling themselves members of the Kinatas-ang Kahugpungan sa Kapupud-an Datus Alimaong, the “tribes people” cited provisions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, or Republic Act 8371.

They said the law gives them the “right to participate fully at all levels of decision-making, which may affect their rights and lives.”

Ombud clears ex-PAO 7 chief

by cebuweb

THE anti-graft office has cleared the regional head of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) 7 of two charges that, in 2008, escalated and eventually led to an exodus of many lawyers to other agencies, including the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

In two separate resolutions, signed by Tanodbayan Merceditas Gutierrez, released yesterday, the anti-graft office found “no probable cause” and “lack of merit” to proceed against lawyer Maria G-Ree Calina-wan for the offenses charged.

Principal, two teachers 'liable' for malversation

by By Mylen P. Manto/WAB

The school principal and two teachers of Pasil Elementary School in Cebu City were indicted for malversation through falsification of public documents for presenting alleged faked documents to support the expenses that were reportedly incurred during the conduct of a seminar for teachers.

Graft Prosecutor Dyna Camba of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military recommended the filing of case before the Regional Trial Court against Blesila Abunda, the school principal, and Shirley Lapidario and Florencio Barrera, both teachers of Pasil Elementary School.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Loreto Zamoras, a teacher of the same school.

Camba, with the approval of Emilio Gonzales, the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices, said the preliminary investigation has been conducted, wherein they found a sufficient ground that the malversation had been committed by the respondents.

She recommended P30,000 bail bond for each respondents for their temporary liberty.

Zamoras alleged that on May 5 to 9, 2008, the Pasil Elementary School held a seminar on “Innovative Strategies in Teaching English, Science and Mathematics,” wherein the Department of Education disbursed P46,000 to fund the activity.

During the seminar, the school’s BENQ LCD projector was used for the power point. However, when the training was held at the University of San Carlos (USC)-South Campus on May 7 and 8, 2009, Pasil Elementary School’s projector was not used because USC provided it.

In the first week of June, Lapidario, the training organizer, told Zamoras that Abunda asked her to make a liquidation of the seminar’s expenses and make it appear that all the money provided by the DepEd has been totally spent.

Lapidario was however hesitant to follow the request of Abunda as the money disbursed by the DepEd was not spent.

Zamoras advised Lapidario to do the liquidation without making a lie which Lapidario allegedly did.

It was shown in the financial statement made by Lapidario a total of P28,808 was the expenses incurred during the five-day seminar with the balance of P17,292.

On July 4, Zamoras made a follow-up in DepEd office regarding the narrative and financial report of the training conducted by their school but was surprised when he discovered that the financial report reflected a zero balance. He said the report was incorrect and fraudulent.

Zamoras alleged the report contained in the acknowledgement receipt of Barrera showed she received P7,500 as rental for the LCD projector. He claimed that there was no rental happened.

He likewise questioned the reimbursement expense receipts signed by all respondents and added that daily allocation of P1,000 for an alleged food for two or three speakers for every training day was overpriced and was only supported by reimbursement expense receipts and not by the official receipt.

According to Zamoras, the financial statements previously made by Lapidario showed teachers Helen Genson and Rebecca Villafuerte, including Cipriano Balili of DepEd Cebu City, received P500 for their services.

However, Vincent Ryan Cañete, disbursing officer of DepEd-Cebu City informed Zamoras upon inquiry that all DepEd personnel are not qualified to receive fee for services rendered in any training or seminar sponsored by the DepEd office.

Abunda alleged that Lapidario was the one who prepared the training design and submitted the same to the DepEd and in return, the DepEd released P46,100 in favor of Pasil Elementary School.

She said the amount was utilized for the food and transportation of teachers-participant and gave P1,000 for honorarium for the speakers and P500 for teachers. She added that the report was revised when they put the honorarium for the speakers amounting to P4,000 when it was disallowed by the DepEd and allegedly advised them to put zero balance.

Abunda alleged that they sought the advice of Cañete.

On the other hand, Barrera claimed that the reimbursement expense receipt they filed in DepEd was in good faith, adding they put in the receipt the alleged rental of projector allegedly upon the advice of Cañete.

However, Prosecutor Camba said the respondents cannot deny the complaint since they were all public officers and had the custody and control of the fund for the seminar they organized.

Bry. officials dismissed for P6,400 graft

by cebuweb

TWO barangay officials from Tabogon town, Cebu were dismissed from the service for conniving to facilitate the irregular disbursement of P6,400 in public funds.

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas fired Labangon, Tabogon Barangay Captain Eliseo Quimque and Portia Navarro, the barangay treasurer, after they were found administratively liable for grave misconduct and dishonesty.

Graft investigator Ed-uardo Kangleon said the offense committed by the two village officials requires dismissal from the service.

Unliquidated cash advances COA: Withhold honorarium for brgy officials

by By Garry B. Lao/JPM

After the Commission on Audit (COA) asked the City Accounting to withhold the honorarium of barangay officials who fail to submit their financial statements and documents for the year 2007 to 2009, this time the agency wants to withhold the leave credit benefits of all barangay officials who failed to liquidate their cash advances and other statements for the year 2010.

Binaliw Barangay Captain Wilson Bacor is seeking the assistance of Mayor Michael Rama to help him facilitate the release of his leave credit benefits since 2009.

This as the COA informed the City Accounting department to withhold Bacor’s leave credits for his reported failure to liquidate financial assistance from the City Government amounting to P30,000 dated February 3, 2004.

Bacor, however, insisted that he could not recall receiving any financial assistance from the City Government.

“Without malice, I have at several times written to COA office to please present to me the voucher number, check number, bundle number and other information in relation to the financial assistance but efforts were futile,” Bacor said.

Bacor also said that COA could not find a single document on his supposed financial assistance.

“I am requesting Mayor Rama to please help me clear my name of any obligation, specifically of the financial assistance. I have done my best to find tangible evidence of the transaction but nothing has been produced by COA office,” Bacor said.

A check with the accounting office also showed that they could not produce documents on the transaction, except that it was encoded in their computer. Bacor wants the matter settled because the accounting office will again withhold the release of his new leave credit benefits based on the same unliquidated financial assistance.

Osmeña denies blocking DOE chief's confirmation

Sen. Sergio "Serge" Osmeña III on Wednesday denied that he and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile were blocking the appointment of Energy Sec. Jose Rene Almendras, whose confirmation has been deferred twice by the Commission on Appointments.

“That’s not true. I’m the oppositor? I’m the sponsor of Secretary Almendras," Osmeña told reporters in an interview.


Osmeña was reacting to a newspaper report quoting CA member Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron as saying Osmeña and Enrile were objecting to Almendras’ confirmation.


“They were blaming me and Senate President Enrile when in truth and in fact, Senate President and I have been the strongest backers of Secretary Almendras because we find him to be the most capable secretary we’ve had yet in the Energy Department," Osmeña said.


Confirmation on hold


Osmeña, chairman of the CA energy committee, admitted that Almendras’ confirmation has been put on hold because of certain issues that did not even happen during his administration.


He said among these issues is the decision of the National Electrification Administration — traditionally chaired by the Energy secretary — on the corruption and bribery charges filed against a former Iloilo governor.


“The one who was found guilty was the one who accepted the bribe and no mention was made of the one who gave the bribe," Osmeña said.


Osmeña said Almendras cannot be blamed for what happened because he wasn’t even in position during that time.


“A motion for reconsideration of the decision made by the NEA board is in order and should be allowed to continue. Sec. Almendras promised that the truth will come out," he said.


Aside from the bribery case, he said Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez is also questioning Almendras about the supposed non-payment of real estate taxes amounting to around P6 billion by the Pagbilao Plant in Pagbilao, Quezon.


But Osmeña said that this is the liability of the National Power Corp. (Napocor). “Ang pera dapat manggagaling sa (The money should come from) Napocor. I don’t think Almendras can be blamed for this," he said.


Lawmakers are still hopeful


Despite these issues, Osmeña said he and the other lawmakers are still hopeful that Almendras will soon be confirmed.


The CA has yet to set a date for the next hearing on Almendras’ confirmation.


Earlier, the CA confirmed the appointments of Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.


The Senate president chairs the CA with 12 senators and 12 congressmen as members.


The commission’s duty, mandated by the 1987 Constitution, is to confirm appointments made by the President: heads of the Executive departments, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and officers of the Armed Forces from the rank of colonel or naval captain, but not the Ombudsman and Supreme Court justices.


The CA discusses and deliberates nominations at the standing committee level and at the plenary session.


Nominations or appointments may end up being confirmed, rejected, or bypassed.

Dacer daughter: PNoy, senators can direct Lacson to resurface

by By Ira Pedrasa,

MANILA, Philippines - The daughter of slain publicist Salvador “Bubby” Dacer has appealed to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and senators to exert effort into pushing ally and colleague Senator Panfilo Lacson to finally appear and shed light on the murder.

Don't call Reds terrorists, call them 'CNN'


MANILA, Philippines - The military on Wednesday said they will no longer call the New People's Army (NPA) as a "communist terrorist" organization. Instead, the Armed Forces will now call the armed rebels "CNN", short for Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front.

Osmeña backs sale of police, military camps


MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Sergio Osmeña on Wednesday backed a proposal to sell or lease parts of the land where the main police and military camps are located.

Sen. Arroyo warns vs ‘rush sale’ of military camps

Senator Joker Arroyo on Wednesday cautioned the government against the sale of Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo, saying there was no assurance that the country’s security forces would benefit from it.

Joker wants accounting of AFP modernization fund

by By Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joker Arroyo wants an accounting of the multibillion-peso proceeds from the sale of Fort Bonifacio in Taguig some 15 years ago, before government holds another auction to sell Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame.

Aquino firm against Charter change, says spokesperson

President Benigno Aquino III is standing firm on his no-to-Charter-change stance and is not yielding to pressure from allies like retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno who are calling for constitutional amendments.

‘LP-Balay’ group backs Macalintal, ‘Noybi’ camp for Brillantes

The warring factions in Malacanang, the so-called “LP-Balay” group and the “Noybi” group, have allegedly fielded their own candidates for chairman in the Commission on Elections, a move seen by a senator as preparation for the 2013 and 2016 elections.

Cops undergo training vs cyber crimes

Aiming to become more relevant in the age of Internet, the Philippine National Police has started a year-long training on cyber security program for policemen.

PNP Spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said they hope the Cyber Security Awareness Seminars for policemen will help boost their capability in fighting cyber crimes like hacking, phishing, cyber terrorism, and other cyber threats.

Cruz also said the training will also strengthen the PNP’s capability to defend its website from hackers.

The seminars will be held by the PNP’s Information Technology Management Service.

“The training will aid our investigators in finding hackers and identify suspects in potential cyber crimes like identity theft,” Cruz said.

He added that the training will also upgrade the information technology system of the PNP through streamlining of its process. “We hope to eventually have paperless reports.”

The seminars are broken down into 12 modules to be held once every month for two days at the ITMS office inside Camp Crame.

For January, the module will be about Trojans, or small pieces of software that seems legitimate but gives hackers unauthorized access into the unsuspecting victim’s computer.

In February, the attendants will be tackling viruses and worms.

Social engineering and phishing, the illegal acquisition of credit card details and passwords, will be taken up in March and April, respectively.

Internet content filtering techniques and cyber warfare or cyber terrorism will be the topics for May and June.

In July, participants will learn how to secure their laptops and computers.

For August, the physical security for information technology equipment will be discussed.

There are also seminars for software piracy and warez, the copyrighted programs distributed for free, in September; preventing data loss in October; computer forensics and incident handling in November and cyber threats and countermeasures in December.

In August last year, the PNP’s website was shut down after its administrators noticed attacks from hackers. At that time, the PNP was being criticized for the botched Quirino Grandstand hostage rescue incident that led to the deaths of eight tourists from Hong Kong.

80 distressed OFWs to arrive from Kuwait Friday

Around 80 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFW) will return to the country from Kuwait on Friday, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Wednesday.

$1: 44.000

$1: 44.000 (P44.12)

Euro 1: 57.4177

Sicat is new PSE president


MANILA, Philippines - Hans Sicat is stepping down as chairman of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to fill up the bourse's recently vacated CEO slot. Sicat replaced Atty. Val Suarez, who resigned from the PSE a month ago, due to conflict of interest issues.

NTC junks proposed cap on Internet downloads

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has scrapped a proposal to allow local telecommunications companies to limit the Internet usage of their subscribers, following stiff opposition from the public.

No Filipino casualty in Australia floods: DFA


MANILA, Philippines – No Filipino casualties were reported in the massive Ondoy-like flood that hit Queensland, particularly in its capital city of Brisbane.

Brisbane prepares for deadly floods to peak

BRISBANE—Australia's third-largest city Brisbane braced for the arrival Thursday of the peak of its worst floods in decades, with more than 30,000 homes under threat, as the death toll rose to 13.

Brazil floods, mudslides leave over 70 dead

RIO DE JANEIRO—Days of flooding and mudslides have left 70 dead in southeast Brazil as the crisis worsened Wednesday when several hillsides collapsed in towns near Rio de Janeiro.

North Korea reopens border hotline with South Korea

by by Lim Chang-Won, Agence France-Presse

SEOUL, South Korea - North Korea Wednesday reopened a cross-border hotline and sought talks on strengthening business projects with South Korea, continuing apparent peace overtures made after months of high tensions.

Suicide bomb kills 18 in NW Pakistan

PESHAWAR—Eighteen people were killed and 15 wounded when a suicide bomber ploughed his explosives-laden car into a police station in northwest Pakistan Wednesday, officials said.

Biden in Islamabad for anti-terror talks: US official

by by Claire Truscott, Agence France-Presse

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Islamabad Wednesday for counterterrorism talks with Pakistan's top leaders and senior military officials, a US official said.

Vietnam acknowledges corruption holds back country

HANOI, Vietnam - Communist Party leaders acknowledged that rampant abuse of power is holding Vietnam back, telling delegates during the opening of a key meeting Wednesday that cleaning up corruption would help solve the country's economic woes.

Larry Holmes cheers Pacquiao, jeers Mayweather


MANILA, Philippines – American boxing legend Larry Holmes said he is pleased with what Manny Pacquiao has done for boxing, unlike his fellow American fighter and undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.

P400M enough to support Philippine athletes, says PSC

If the National Sports Associations will not be greedy, this year’s budget of the Philippine Sports Commission should be more than enough to cover all their expenses.

Over time Beermen trip Kings

by By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - San Miguel Beer overcame a 6-point deficit in the last two minutes of regulation then drew second wind from its deeper bench in the second extra period to beat Barangay Ginebra, 108-104, and move in the threshold of back-to-back PBA finals stints at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.

Castro keys TNT win over Derby Ace in Game 5

Jason Castro came off the bench and scored 22 points to spark Talk `N Text past defending champion B-Meg Derby Ace, 97-83, to move within striking distance of reaching the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Lakers win by 55, humiliate woeful Cavs (AP)

The Los Angeles Lakers professed no empathy for the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers, only a grim, workmanlike attitude in dispatching the business at hand. The Lakers humiliated the Cavs while sending them to their 11th straight loss, rolling to a 112-57 victory on Tuesday night in their best defensive performance of the shot clock era.

Jinkee celebrates birthday in own bar in GenSan

Idinaos ni Jinkee Pacquiao ang kanyang 32nd birthday sa isang simpleng party kasama ang pamilya at malalapit na kaibigan.

Kristine Hermosa, Oyo Boy Sotto tie the knot


MANILA, Philippines – After being a couple for more than one year, actress Kristine Hermosa and actor Oyo Boy Sotto finally tied the knot Wednesday afternoon at Club Balay Isabel in Talisay, Batangas.

Bond is back: 007 film revived after MGM crisis

LOS ANGELES - Filming on the latest James Bond movie will start later this year for release in November 2012, its producers said Tuesday after debt-ridden studio giant MGM was saved from financial oblivion.

The project, starring Daniel Craig as 007, was put on ice last April after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was offered for sale to resolve its debt problems and stave off bankruptcy.

But the legendary studio, with a catalogue that includes the Bond franchise as well as the "Pink Panther" and "Rocky" series, announced a debt-restructuring rescue deal late last year, paving the way for Bond's return.

With the working title of Bond 23 -- the 23rd instalment in the mega-grossing franchise formerly embodied by stars such as Sean Connery and Roger Moore -- the new movie will be directed by British filmmaker Sam Mendes.

The film "will commence production in late 2011 for a worldwide release on November 9, 2012," said Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions and Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum of MGM in a statement.

"Daniel Craig will be returning as the legendary British secret agent, with Sam Mendes directing a screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan," it added.

MGM -- famous for its trademark roaring lion logo -- announced in October that its creditors had approved a reorganization plan with US firm Spyglass Entertainment.

Spyglass was favored over a rival offer from billionaire Carl Icahn, who reportedly owns about 800 million dollars of MGM’s debt, to merge the studio with film producer Lionsgate in which he is the largest shareholder.

The studio has a 4,000-title strong back catalogue that also includes "The Wizard of Oz" and "Singin' in the Rain."

Japan first lady: wouldn't marry Kan if reincarnated

by Reuters

TOKYO, Japan - Prime Minister Naoto Kan's wife Nobuko, one of the struggling Japanese leader's harshest critics, said on Wednesday she wouldn't want to marry him if she had another life to live.

Nobuko was quick to add, however, that the reason had less to do with her husband of 40 years than her desire to do something different if she were reincarnated and had the chance.

Running: It's all about the shoes


MANILA, Philippines - Most of the time, running injuries are caused by something people usually overlook -- their shoes. Here are tips on how to make running a safer activity for people of all ages.

Improper footwear is one of the main reasons why runners experience discomfort, and eventually get injured, according to Dr. Herminio Valenzuela, consultant for sports medicine at The Medical City in Pasig.

A person's feet bear much stress when running -- about 6 times his body weight, explained Valenzuela. Wearing ill-fitting footwear will cause muscles in the feet to become strained more quickly.


"Use good running shoes...wear sport-specific shoes and change them frequently," Valenzuela said in an interview on Mornings@ANC.

Currently, there are several running footwear that people can choose from.

It's neither about the brand nor the design -- Valenzuela said one has to get shoes with the proper fit, support and plenty of cushioning to absorb shock as the feet hit the ground.

Preventing injury

It's either the person is not wearing the right running shoes, or he isn't doing things right.

Doing "too much, too soon, too often, too fast, too hard and having too little rest" can take a toll on a person's feet, and even his legs and hips, according to Valenzuela.

"Pay attention to your body. If you've stopped running for 10 years and you start running again, consult a doctor first to see if you're ready for this," he explained.

Warming up and cooling down is key. Before and after running, one must do gentle stretching exercises. Increase training slowly, following the body's pace.

When running, avoid leaning forward or backward as these will cause more stress to the feet.

It's also best to stay away from difficult terrain such as cement or asphalt pavements. Dirt paths or athletic tracks are the best places to run, Valenzuela said.

At the first sign of pain, one should stop running, he said, and consult a podiatrist, a doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of the foot, ankle and lower leg.

More than extraordinary care and diligence are being applied to the liturgical preparations for this event because the people preparing the liturgy certainly desire that it be the model for such ceremonies and that it instills in the faithful a deeper appreciation of their faith and a broader understanding of the office of bishop.


I.� The Rite of Liturgical Reception�

The reformed rite of reception of a newly appointed bishop to a diocese is a simple rite, which intends to catechize the people of God about the role and function of the bishop in the Christian community. The celebration tries to capture in ritual form the nature of the Church and the relationship of the bishop to the Church; even more nobly, it points to the ritual action that reveals in concrete form (liturgically, artistically, professionally) the presence of God. The whole ritual form of reception of the new bishop focuses attention on the place of the bishop in the ritual life of the Church. Assuredly, there is no Church without the bishop, and the bishop’s liturgy is the choice manifestation of the Church; but the bishop is not the whole church nor is the bishop’s liturgy the only indication of the salvific presence of God.[1] The bishop is above all the shepherd of the diocese that is entrusted to him. The bishop is also the successor to the Apostles, head of the local Church, and the representative of Christ.[2] His functions and duties, and in fact who he is, are always defined in relationship to Christ the head of the Church, the good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep.

1.� The rites that inaugurate the ministerial life of the new bishop in this sense highlights the contours of the road that he has to undertake in the local Church entrusted to his care. The place where the celebration takes place is in “the see” of the diocese, the mother church of the whole diocese, the cathedral church. It is here that the bishop presides in the liturgy, the chief task entrusted to him for the glorification of God and the sanctification of humankind. He is constituted �the liturgist� of the diocese for in him the faithful in the diocese will be gathered to do the �memory� of the Lord and to �serve� in his presence as he presides in the liturgical celebrations in the many coming years. It is in the cathedral church that the bishop gives fuller expression to his Episcopal ministry as he leads his flock, together with his presbyters, in the praise of God. The cathedral church is not only the home of the diocese it is the picture of the diocese, always ready for God’s presence in the midst of man’s concern for the what is ephemeral. �The cathedral Church is �a sign� of the unity of believers in the faith that the bishop proclaims as a shepherd of the Lord�s flock.�[3]�The preeminent manifestation of the local Church is present when the bishop, as high priest of his flock celebrates the Eucharist and particularly when he celebrates in the cathedral, surrounded by his college of presbyters and by his ministers, and with the full, active participation of all of God’s holy people.[4]

The rite of reception happens at the door of the cathedral when the newly appointed bishop of the diocese is received by the senior presbyter of the diocese, in the case of our celebration by the two auxiliary bishops of Manila, their Excellencies, the Most Reverend Socrates Villegas and the Most Reverend Teodoro Buhain.[5]

2.� The rector of the cathedral offers him a crucifix to be kissed, then a sprinkler of holy water, with which the bishop sprinkles himself and those present. The bishop may be escorted to the Blessed Sacrament chapel, where he kneels for a moment in adoration, then to the vesting room.[6]

The symbols in this rite of reception are very direct. They are preparatory rites for the celebration of the Eucharist, which is the heart of the whole celebration. The bishop kisses the crucifix as a reminder of his relationship with Christ, who suffered and died for his flock. The bishop is demanded by the very nature of his office as the shepherd of the flock to witness to this self giving love of the Good Shepherd: “No greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” This also finds resonance even in the motto of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Gaudencio Rosales: �Unless it dies, it does not bear fruit.�

Then the sprinkling of the holy water on himself and to the people present, recalls the baptismal character from which all of us have been made children of God. This gesture manifests the fundamental bond that the head of the church, the bishop and the faithful share in the faith; baptism. St Augustine clearly expresses this: �for you I am a bishop, with you I am a Christian.� Then the silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament happens, this time together with all the presbyters of the archdiocese of manila. The bishop becomes a living witness to the power of prayer and the whole presbyterium together with the bishop they attest to this truth. This is just but a sign of their identity as “men of prayer.”

II.� The Rite of Canonical Installation

Then, the celebration of the Eucharist begins. Here the main rite of “taking possession of the diocese” takes place. The whole celebration is centered on the Eucharistic celebration for in this “the bishop is the point of unity for the Church of the diocese; when he presides at the liturgical function, the local church achieves its maximum unity and community.” [7] To highlight the local church of the Archdiocese of Manila gathered in unity around its pastor, banners with the names of all the parishes of the archdiocese are brought to the sanctuary as the entrance procession takes place.

1.� After reverencing the altar, the bishop goes to his chair. It is the Cardinal, the administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, who begins the celebration of the Eucharist and greets the people of God gathered for this celebration. After the greeting, His Eminence asks that the Apostolic Letter be read.[8] This is an ancient tradition of the church that expresses the bond of unity of the local church to the universal church, headed by the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. In fact, this is the essence of the rite of canonical installation of the newly appointed bishop in taking possession of his diocese.

Then the faithful express their acceptance and gratitude for the appointment of the archbishop as the choir sings “Thanks to the Lord.”

2.� After the Apostolic letter is read, the new archbishop is led to his “cathedra” or his “chair.” With the reform of the liturgy in Vatican II, the “cathedra” of the bishop has come to signify his seat of leadership, no longer a throne. The “cathedra” is a sign of his teaching office and pastoral power in the particular Church.[9] �The �cathedra� should be a chair that stands alone and is permanently installed. Its placement should make it clear that the bishop is presiding over the whole community of the faithful.�[10]

3.� �The archbishop is then greeted by members of the diocesan clergy, religious men and women, members of the faithful, and as circumstances suggest, representatives of the civil authority.�[11] This signifies the respect and obedience the people of God ought to render the chief shepherd of the archdiocese. As the Council teaches: “the faithful should cling to the bishop as the Church clings to Jesus Christ and as Jesus Christ clings to the Father…[12]

4.� The celebration of the Eucharist continues in the usual manner, presided over by the new Archbishop. The culmination of the celebration is his presidency over the Eucharistic celebration for it is “the office of bishop as teacher, sanctifier, and pastor of his church shines forth most clearly in a liturgy that he celebrates with his people.�[13]



An ancient rite


Installation ceremony is dense with significance, history


by Luke Eggleston

SUN staff writer



The ceremonial installation of a bishop is one of the most important events in any diocese. There have only been 10 such ceremonies in more than 100 years of history of the diocese.

Each facet of the ceremony is full of ritual significance. In many cases, the artifacts used bear some historical significance to a particular diocese’s history.



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The primary participants in most installations are the representatives of the diocese, such as the college of consultors, the outgoing bishop or the auxiliary bishop and the chancellor, and the rector of the cathedral, and representatives of the larger church such as the archbishop, representing the authority of the archdiocese and, in some cases, the apostolic nuncio, representing the authority of the college of bishops. The word “nuncio” is derived from the Latin word “nuntius,” which means “envoy.” The nuncio is the Vatican’s permanent representative or ambassador to an institution or nation.

The priests who participate in the ceremony process to the altar before the ceremony begins and are positioned to welcome the new bishop. The ceremony begins with the cathedral representative and the diocesan representative standing at the back of the church.

The new bishop is escorted to the vestibule doors by the archbishop and the apostolic nuncio.

According to Director of Liturgy for the Syracuse Diocese Father Joseph Scardella, the apostolic nuncio’s participation in the installation is the first since Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Costello was ordained in 1978.

When he arrives outside the vestibule doors, the new bishop knocks, asking to be let into the church, according to Father Scardella.

“The new bishop knocks on the door literally asking entrance into the church in Syracuse,” said Father Scardella, explaining the ceremony.

The bishop is then welcomed into the church by the rector and the diocesan representative, in this case Msgr. Neal Quartier and Bishop Thomas Costello. The rector then hands the new bishop a cross, which he kisses, and holy water, which he sprinkles on the attendees as he proceeds toward the altar.

The cross Msgr. Quartier presented to Bishop Cunningham was one that was found by a priest of the Syracuse Diocese in 1887 in the Buffalo suburb of Tonowanda. The same cross was presented to Bishop Joseph O’Keefe during his installation in 1987.

In addition, the ceremonial pectoral cross worn by the new bishop was Bishop David Cunningham’s, whose tenure as head of the Syracuse Diocese lasted from 1970 to 1977.

Upon arriving at the sanctuary, the archbishop takes his seat on the cathedral, while the new bishop takes his place among the presiders.

Then the archbishop begins with the sign of the cross before asking that the apostolic letter detailing the new appointment be read. The apostolic nuncio then reads the letter from the pulpit. After that, the chancellor signs the letter on the altar, impresses it with the seal of the Syracuse Diocese and displays it to the board of consulters and then the people in attendance.

Next, the nuncio, the archbishop and the out-going bishop accompany the new bishop to the cathedra, the bishop’s chair, where he is handed the crozier. The passing of the crozier is the moment when he actually takes canonical possession of the diocese,” Father Scardella said.

After the crozier is passed, the attendees applaud as a sign of their welcome and affirmation. The final stage of the installation includes a host of diocesan representatives officially welcoming the bishop. In the Syracuse Diocese ceremony, the representatives included the college of consultors, Deacon Les Distin on behalf of the deacon community, the Diocesan Pastoral Council, then Sister Patricia Burkard, OSF representing the religious of the diocese; Father Justin Biase, OFM Conv. for the Franciscan community; the Christian Brothers; representatives from the Religious Education Office; Catholic Charities; the ecumenical community; the Asian Apostolate; the Spanish Apostolate; Black Catholic Ministry; the Office of Persons with Disabilities; the Respect Life Office and Office of Youth Ministry.

As the new bishop was greeted, the choir sang Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, an old Latin hymn which was traditionally sung whenever a bishop visited a parish church for confirmation.

A typical Mass follows the installation ceremony with the new bishop as the celebrant and homilist.


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