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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 14, 2011 Major News Stories

January 14, 2011 Major News Stories
January 14, 2011 Major News Stories

Aquino may attend Sinulog grand parade

by dr_tangarorang

CEBU CITY -- Sinulog organizers and traffic managers are prepared to strengthen the security plan for this Sunday’s grand parade, with the prospect of President Aquino attending it.

Ricky Ballesteros, executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI), said officials from the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) and the Presidential Security Group (PSG) called him on Thursday to ask for the time and details of the parade and the flow of the program at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Cebu officials welcome balikbayans at airport

by cebuweb

OFFICIALS from various government agencies yesterday welcomed 171 returning Filipinos, or “balikbayans,” and foreign guests from the United States and Canada to participate in the Fiesta Señor celebrations.

For 10 years now, the traditional welcome of arriving balikbayans and foreign tourists led by the Department of Tourism (DOT) is done every Thursday before the actual Sinulog grand parade.

Sinulog "dos and don'ts"

by By Niña G. Sumacot/BRP

The police have issued a general advisory to the public about “dos and don’ts” during the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday.

As for the “dos”, the public, especially to those who will watch the grand parade, are advised to bring raincoats, umbrellas, food and water, extra clothes, first-aid medicine and other emergency needs.

Spectators are also advised to bring as little money as possible so they will not have any regrets in case they become victims of crime.

As for the “don’ts”, the public are warned not to bring firearms or ammunition as a special gun ban is currently being implemented in Cebu from Jan. 7 to 21.

All permits to carry firearms outside residence are suspended, as approved by PNP Chief Raul Bacalzo.

Sharp or bladed instruments, explosives such as firecrackers, intoxicating liquor and gambling materials are also prohibited. Gambling in the streets is not allowed.

Spectators must also avoid wearing expensive jewelry and bringing expensive cellular phones and other personal items that might entice robbers.

An advisory is also issued to those who will bring children to make sure they have IDs with them for identification in case they get lost.

In case of emergency, the police hotline can be reached at 233-6705 or 233-0762 or cellular phone number 0926-5151828 of the Cebu City Police Office and 166, 262-7157, 262-7201 or 262-7231 of the Mobile Patrol Group.

The public can also reach the Bureau of Fire hotline at 160, 256-0541, or 256-0542 and Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation hotline number 161 or 233-9300.

They can also directly report any incident to the policemen assigned in each of the eight sectors composing the carousel route. Each sector will be manned by a police commander.

Bishop Palma to open Sinulog grand parade

by By Garry B. Lao/BRP

Newly-installed Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma is set to be welcomed on Sunday by the faithful devotees of Sto. Niño at the Cebu City Sports Center, where he will make his first public appearance before the Sinulog grand parade.

This was announced yesterday by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, overall chairman of the Sinulog Foundation Inc., after Palma agreed to celebrate a Mass at the sports center at 8 a.m. before the grand parade will start.

In yesterday’s press conference, Rama welcomed Palma being the newly installed Archbishop of Cebu and asked the Cebuanos to rally behind Palma.

But while Palma will attend the celebration of the Sinulog, President Benigno Aquino III has not made any commitment.

Rama, who called up Aquino the other day, said he personally invited the president to attend the Sinulog but received no definite answer yet as the president has a full schedule this week visiting the victims of landslide because of the heavy rains.

“He did not say no and he did not say yes. But just in case he will attend, the millions of Cebuanos and visitors will be very happy of his presence,” Rama said.

This year Sinulog 2011 will pay tribute to the Chinese community and celebrate Chinese influence on the local culture and economy.

Aside from the performances, the stage and street décor for the grand parade will also have a touch of Chinese, including the use of huge drums and other Chinese musical instruments.

The contingents will still perform the traditional “two steps forward, one step backward” Sinulog dance, but organizers expect the music and props to feature Chinese influences.

At least 15 provinces and cities outside Cebu will join some 30 local contingents in the Sinulog grand parade, which will also feature 500 performers for the grand finale.

Pastoral visits, meetings fill first few days

by cebuweb

CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma will meet with church leaders to get updates on the state of the archdiocese.

In his first press conference yesterday, he said he will meet with the Archi-diocese’s Board of Consultors and the Presbyteral Council.

Palma said in the next few days he expects to meet with members of faith communities and begin his pastoral visits to parishes.

There will be no changes in the church commissions in the coming days.

“It is common practice of the church that with the change of the administration is the renewal of appointments temporarily,” Palma said.

Philippine floods, landslides kill 42

by Reuters

MANILA, Philippines - Sustained heavy rain and floods in the central and southern  Philippines have killed 42 people and damaged crops and infrastructure worth more than P1 billion ($23 million), disaster officials said on Thursday.

Floods in Negros Oriental kill 2

by by Carine Asutilla, ABS-CBN News Central Visayas

CEBU CITY, Philippines - After 30 hours of rescue and retrieval operations conducted by authorities, the bodies of Baludoy and Jemer Banjao were found in separate locations Wednesday morning.

Malacañang rules out wage hike

Binara kaagad ng mga negosyante at Malacañang ang hirit na umento sa sahod ng mga manggagawa dahil sa kaliwa't kanang pagtaas ng bilihin at serbisyo. Pero bukod sa mga pribadong manggagawa, humihingi rin ng dagdag na umento sa suweldo ang mga kawani ng gobyerno.

DOLE: Wage hike possible in July


MANILA, Philippines - Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said workers in Metro Manila should not expect an increase in minimum wage until after July this year despite recent increases in oil products and transportation fees.

New cab rates to take effect on Jan. 24

by cebuweb

THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) yesterday said the increase in taxi fare rates will be implemented on Jan. 24 instead of Jan. 15, as earlier announced. This is because the order was only published in the newspapers last Jan. 6.

Balili lawyers mum on meeting

by cebuweb

THE lawyers of both parties in the Balili case were tight-lipped about the outcome of their meeting yesterday in connection with the court order to transfer P24 million to the estate’s bank account.

Carlo Fortuna, one of Amparo Balili’s counsels, said what was discussed in the meeting with Balili estate executor Romeo Balili yesterday morning is “privileged communication.”

He said both parties would meet again with the other Balili heirs to further thresh out issues involving the estate’s money.

Danao raid yields 89 ‘shabu’ packets

by cebuweb

A SUSPECTED drug pusher was arrested by the police in Danao City last Tuesday night, in a raid that yielded 89 small packs of what police believe is shabu.

Suspect Alvin Lavador was arrested inside his house in Barangay Maslog at 8 p.m., said Chief Insp. Eddie Recamara in a phone interview.


Recamara’s team confiscated from Lavador P27,900 worth of suspected shabu, placed in 89 sachets.

They also got 25 pieces of rolled aluminum foil, two lighters and P720 in different bills from the suspect.

Cops get lessons on good conduct

by cebuweb

ALTHOUGH it is not a major concern in Central Visayas, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 has taken preventive measures to keep its members from getting involved in controversies.

PRO 7 Director Ager Ontog Jr. said that starting today, police officers will be briefed on basic courtesy and etiquette, and will be trained on the basic police procedures in handling an investigation, managing traffic, patrolling and other operations.

Truth body member in the running for Comelec post


MANILA, Philippines - A human rights lawyer has been included in the shortlist of nominees for the position of Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said election advocate Carlos Medina’s name is in the list of those being eyed for Comelec chairman.

Medina, a law professor from the Ateneo de Manila University, earlier topped the list of nominees that various organizations submitted to Malacañang for consideration.

He is one of the convenors of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente), an election watchdog composed of lawyers and paralegal workers.

He was also named a member of Aquino’s Truth Commission, which continues to investigate anomalies during the past administration albeit a nullification ruling from the Supreme Court.

He was chosen by Church-based and civil society organizations that conducted a search process for candidates who possess “independence, competence and integrity.”

CBCP News said the committee includes Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the National Secretariat for Social Action of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines; former Comelec chair Christian Monsod of the Bishops-Businessmen Conference; and Jose Cusia of the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections; Roan Libarious of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Mahar Mangahas of the Social Weather Stations, Vincent Lazatin of the Transparency and Accountability Network, and Gregorio Navarro of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines.


No choice yet

Aquino said he has not yet chosen the person to replace retiring Comelec chairman Jose Melo, amid news of conflict between camps either pushing for Brillantes or Macalintal.

He said a painstaking process is needed, noting the experiences he and colleagues had encountered with Comelec in the past.

He cited, for example, the electoral protests that take a long time to be resolved in the hands of the Comelec.

“So ang gusto po natin sa d’yan kasi isa na talagang sobrang dunong sa electoral law, nag-practice, alam ‘yung byurukrasya, alam ‘yung kung ano ‘yung mga depekto, alam kung paano ire-rectify ‘yung sitwasyon para naman ‘yung mandato ng tao ay mangyari sa mabilis na panahon,” he said.


No poll lawyers please

Former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod, on the other hand, said election lawyers should not be appointed to the post due to a potential conflict of interest.

He said the poll lawyer may be beholden to clients he or she had served before.

He said that although poll lawyers like the 2 leading contenders are knowledgeable, Comelec is “more than just solving election cases.”

He stressed Comelec officials should be non-partisan.

Monsod also said the government should stop appointing retired justices to the post because they lack the vigor of younger officials.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo was also earlier quoted, saying: “The justices of SC are old. We need a new blood and knowledgeable on the new technology (automated election system).”

The names of retired SC Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing and retiring SC Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura have been floated as the possible replacements for Melo as well.

Aquino, however, said he has not received any proposals for both.

Nominees for Comelec post once lawyered for Ampatuan

Two veteran election lawyers being considered as the next Commission on Elections chairman once lawyered for Andal Ampatuan Sr., the former governor accused of masterminding the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao in 2009.

But Sixto Brillantes and Romulo Macalintal said Thursday there was nothing wrong with having lawyered for the alleged murderer, maintaining that the relationship was strictly professional.

“This should not be taken against us. His case was but one of some 2,000 to 2,500 cases I’ve handled in the last 20 years,” Brillantes, 71, told the Inquirer by phone.

Macalintal admitted that Ampatuan used to be a client, and so was Maguindanao Gov. Ishmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, the latter’s erstwhile political ally-turned-rival.

Is Enrile in danger of losing the Senate presidency?

by By Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Talks of a coup d’etat swirled in the Senate on Thursday with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile reportedly in danger of losing the upper chamber’s leadership to administration Senator Franklin Drilon.

Enrile: ‘Charter change is imperative’

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile on Thursday made a strong push for Charter change through a constituent assembly, saying there is a need to amend the Constitution, which he described as the “source” of the country's problems.

Danny Lim still undecided on amnesty

Former Scout Ranger commander Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim, who participated in at least two attempts to overthrow the Arroyo administration, has yet to decide whether or not to avail of the amnesty being extended by President Benigno Aquino III.

Garcia probe may expose ex-AFP officials’ collusion—solon

A deeper investigation into the plea bargain agreement between state prosecutors and former military comptroller Carlos Garcia might open a can of worms that could possibly involve other former military officials, Parañaque Representative Roilo Golez said Thursday.

Garcia just a fall guy, says senator

Former Armed Forces comptroller Carlos Garcia is a "fall guy'' who should be compelled to identify the military officials that protected him while amassing P300 million in the military service, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Thursday.

Angry De Lima asks for sanction vs Ombudsman execs over Garcia plea-bargain deal

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The lower officers of the Office of the Ombudsman should be subjected to disciplinary action for entering into the questionable plea-bargain agreement with former AFP comptroller Gen. Carlos Garcia, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said.

Ex-military comptroller’s plunder case can still be pushed—DoJ

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was not convinced that the government could not pursue the plunder case of ex-military comptroller retired Major General Carlos Garcia, Radyo Inquirer reported Thursday.

8 charged in Christmas Day bombing of Jolo chapel

Police authorities have filed charges against eight alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf for the December 25 blast at a chapel inside the police headquarters here in which 11 persons were wounded.

Manila, MILF agree to resume peace talks next month

by By Manny Mogato, Reuters

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines and the country's main Muslim separatist group agreed on Thursday to resume peace talks next month, the first sign of progress to end a four-decade insurgency since President Benigno Aquino took office last year.

Palace: No preconditions for renewed GRP-NDF talks

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - A Palace spokesman on Thursday said there are no preconditions to the formal resumption of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front.

Sandigan junks Marcoses' motion vs Malacañang jewelry ruling

A special division of the Philippine anti-graft court has junked the motions filed by two members of the Marcos family who were questioning the government's right to claim the so-called Malacañang jewelry collection.

150 Filipinas jailed in Dubai for ‘moonlighting’

Some 150 Filipina workers have been languishing in a Dubai prison cell since last month for working part-time at a wedding reception in violation of the United Arab Emirates' immigration laws.

DFA extends help to 59 repatriated OFWs from Lebanon

The Department of Foreign Affairs Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA), led by its executive director Ricardo Endaya, welcomed and extended assistance to the 59 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Wednesday afternoon.

70 Korean minors sans study permits, 7 adults to be deported—Immigration

The Bureau of Immigration will expel and include in its blacklist 70 Korean minors studying in the country without permits along with seven adult Koreans allegedly responsible for facilitating the children’s entry into the Philippines.

BBC docu features 'dangerous' fishing method in PHL

A "dangerous" fishing method practiced in the Philippines which makes use of compressors was featured in a new documentary aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

$1: 44.110

$1: 44.110 (P44.00)

Euro 1: 57.8352

Customs seize P30M worth of liquor and ukay-ukay

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) on Thursday has impounded at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) shipments of alcoholic products and used clothing worth P30 million.

Aquino approves zero tariff on wheat, cement

by By Aurea Calica , The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino announced that he had approved in principle a proposal to eliminate the tariffs on wheat and cement to help arrest escalating prices of the two products.

Pope Benedict XVI set to beatify John Paul II

by Reuters

VATICAN CITY - Former Pope John Paul II will move a step closer to sainthood this week when his successor Pope Benedict approves the case for his beatification, Vatican sources said Wednesday.

Aung San Suu Kyi seeks to revive party

YANGON, Myanmar - Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is seeking to revive her political party in military-run Myanmar by launching an appeal to the Supreme Court of a ruling that upheld its banning, her lawyers said Thursday.

Haiti cholera toll tops 3,750

PORT-AU-PRINCE—Haiti's cholera death toll has risen to 3,759, government figures showed Thursday, but daily fatalities linked to the persistent epidemic appeared to trend downward in the first days of 2011.

Federer, Nadal to lead flood relief benefit

MELBOURNE, Australia - Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play an exhibition match on Sunday ahead of the Australian Open to raise funds for the country's flood victims.

Roach: We’re preparing for boxer who KO’d Margarito


MANILA, Philippines – Boxing trainer Freddie Roach said he will be preparing 8-division champ Manny Pacquiao for the best version of former world champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley.

PH to host FIBA Asia Champions Cup


MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has been named the host of the 22nd FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

Clips end Heat's road win streak at 13 (AP)

Energized by the prospect of taking on the Big Three, the Los Angeles Clippers came out attacking and never let up. Blake Griffin had 24 points and 14 rebounds for his 30th double-double, and the Clippers surprised Miami 111-105 Wednesday night, ending the Heat's 13-game road winning streak. Eric Gordon added 26 points and Baron Davis had 20 points and nine assists for the Clippers.

Bryant, Odom rally Lakers past Warriors (AP)

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Kobe Bryant had all of about six minutes left when he decided to finally take over. For him, it was plenty of time. Bryant scored 17 of his 39 points in the final 5:49 and the sluggish Los Angeles Lakers rallied late to beat the Golden State Warriors 115-110 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory.

Spurs beat Bucks for fourth straight win (AP)

Matt Bonner said it was his turn to be the spark off the bench. Bonner scored all of his 17 points in the second half, Manu Ginobili was consistent again with 23 and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Milwaukee Bucks 91-84 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win. "We have guys do that every night.

Celtics cruise, Kings' road skid hits 12 (AP)

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen delivered the message before many of the Boston fans had shaken the snow off their boots and settled into their seats. The two healthy remnants of the New Big Three spurred the Celtics to an 8-0 lead in the first 76 seconds, and Pierce went on to score 15 points in the first quarter as Boston coasted to a 119-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

Anne Curtis concerned about family in Australia


MANILA, Philippines – Actress Anne Curtis expressed concern on Thursday for her family who resides in Australia due to the heavy floods inundating Queensland particularly its capital city, Brisbane.

Aquino criticized for buying luxury sportscar

by Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino said Thursday he had splashed out on a luxury Porsche sportscar, sparking criticism in a country where a third of the population live on less than a dollar a day.

Local press cited a recent Aquino order banning government units from buying luxury cars as service vehicles.

The 50-year-old bachelor said he sold his old BMW and took out a personal loan to buy the Porsche, which he said allowed him a relaxing drive amid his gargantuan responsibilities.

"I was happy with the deal because its mileage was less than 10,000 kilometers," Aquino said of the pre-owned vehicle, which local news reports said was a white entry-level model worth P4.5 million ($102,000).

Aquino's spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, defended his boss, saying the car's value had depreciated substantially compared with a brand-new Porsche.

No more rugged-looking clothes for Senate media

Starting next week, members of the media covering the Senate wearing rubber slippers and rubber shoes, and faded, torn or rugged-looking denim jeans will be barred from plenary sessions and committee hearings.

Carlo Caparas appears before DOJ, denies tax evasion

by by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Comic strip creator-turned film director and producer Carlo J. Caparas appeared before the prosecutor in charge of investigating a pending tax evasion case against him to file his counter-affidavit and personally swear to it in front of the prosecutor.

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