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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 21, 2011 Major News Stories

January 21, 2011 Major News Stories
January 21, 2011 Major News Stories

Police fail to bring down man on bridge tower

by dr_tangarorang

CEBU CITY -- As of 11:30 Thursday night, the guy was still there.

Thirty hours after he climbed one of the 40-foot towers of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, he did not show signs of jumping into the Mactan channel. Neither did he come down.

The unidentified guy, who looked to be in his 20s, twice asked for bottled water and bread, first at 11 p.m. Wednesday and later at 1:45 a.m. Thursday.

He returned an already opened bottle and demanded a sealed one.

He got his bread and water.

It wasn’t ascertained if he asked for more after 1:45 a.m. but police did not give him anything more.

The guy refused to come down despite aerial efforts and pleas by police rescuers.

He had made himself comfortable in the open space, about three feet by four feet, using a sack as a shield from the sun and rain.

He also blocked himself from the view of the police using a tower signboard. The police were observing him from another tower 40 meters away.

Insp. Jacinto Mandal, head of the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) of the Lapu-Lapu City Police, tried to bring him down using a fireman’s aerial ladder.

Mandal abandoned this effort when the guy brandished a bolo at him.

“Ayaw lang jud, sir, ayaw lang sud sa akong teritoryo, (Sir, stay away from my territory),” Mandal quoted the guy as saying.

“Our objective is to preserve the life of the subject, and prevent anyone from getting hurt,” Mandal said.

Mandal noted the items the guy had with him: two empty one-gallon cans of paint thinner, blinker lights, a sack (which he improvised as sun cover), a broken softdrink bottle and the 12-inch bolo.

The guy also had a rosary with him.

The guy was first thought to be attempting suicide.

But from his behavior and luggage, he is believed to be someone who had planned to steal the cables at the bridge.

Bridge cameras caught him climbing the tower and the police were alerted.

Hiked flagdown by Jan. 24 only for complying cabs

Umpisa na sa Lunes ang mas mataas na singil sa taxi. Hindi nga lang lahat ng taxi, puwede nang kumubra ng bagong flagdown rate. Ginigiit naman ng mga tsuper at operator ng jeepney na payagan na rin silang magtaas ng singil kundi ay magwewelga sila.

5% discount on seniors electric bills starts today

by By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/FPL

The five percent discount on the electric bills of senior citizens will be implemented by the Visayas Electric Company starting today.

VECO spokesperson Ethel Natera said the discount will take effect today for those qualified elderly who have already applied to avail of the discount provided for under the Republic Act 9994 otherwise known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.”

Natera however said that as of yesterday they have only received 300 applications for residential senior citizens.

She said VECO continues to receive applications for discount at its SM City Cebu full service center. To avail of the discount under Section 4 (c)] of the R.A. 9994, the meter should be registered in the name of the senior citizen for at least one year, the senior citizen must be residing in the household, the monthly consumption should not exceed 100kwh.

Qualified seniors must submit documents such as proof of age, residence and proof of billing. The application is renewable every year.

Aside from the five percent discount, senior citizens are also entitled to a lifeline subsidy granted by the government to minimum electric consumers.

The lifeline subsidy discount applies in the following manner;

For those consuming 0-20 kWh, the discount is 100%; 21-30 kWh (65% discount); 31-40 kWh   (50% discount); 41-50 kWh (40% discount); 51-60 kWh (30% discount); 61-70 kWh (20% discount); 71-80 kWh (15% discount); 81-90 kWh (10% discount) and 91-100 kWh (5%).

People behind rice scam will be prosecuted, Palace assures

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Proper charges will be filed against the person or persons involved in the alleged overpriced contracts to import rice during the Arroyo administration.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte gave this assurance as the National Food Authority (NFA) began conducting its own audit of rice importations made during the time of former President Gloria Arroyo.

Valte said an investigation into the matter has also been launched, with the help of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

NFA Administrator Lito Banayo earlier reported, citing an audit of a private group, that the government lost P20 billion due to overpriced rice importations over the last 10 years.

Former Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who is now the representative of Bohol, denied the report, saying Banayo fudged the data.

Yap said Banayo used "raw" spot prices, which were much lower than the "landed" price that includes the cost of transportation, insurance, freight, etc.

Yap also said that rice importations under the Arroyo administration went through bidding procedures.

But Valte said, "What we have (the evidence) shows the contrary."

Lawmakers have already sought congressional inquiry into the alleged rice scam.

Blue ribbon probe on alleged rice scam sought

Senator Franklin Drilon on Thursday urged the Senate blue ribbon committee to look into the alleged irregularities in the rice importation of the National Food Authority (NFA) in 2010.

"The blue ribbon committee is one committee in the Senate that can call a hearing without resolution, so I urge our colleague Sen. [Teofisto] Guingona [III] to immediately start working on this," Drilon told reporters in an interview.

 

Drilon made the appeal a day after President Benigno Aquino III revealed that only a person or a group of people may have benefited from the NFA’s private sector-financed importation of rice during the first six months of 2010.

 

Citing information from NFA administrator Lito Banayo, Aquino said manager’s checks of those who were given a chance to import during that period came from only one bank, which he said is proof of a possible cornering of rice imports.

 

Seeing this, Drilon said there is a need to review the mandate and the powers of the board of trustees of the NFA.

 

"We should look at this issue both from the structure and role of the NFA and at the same time the issue of holding responsible those or haling to court those responsible for this anomaly," he said.

 

GMANews.TV tried reaching Guingona for his comment but was unsuccessful.

 

Senator Francis Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate agriculture and food committee, said he is also considering conducting a series of hearings on the issue.

 

"We will not hesitate to conduct a separate investigation on the matter should we feel the need for the Senate to step in. In the meantime," he said in a statement Thursday.

 

As of now, he said they are closely monitoring the issue and that they have been in touch with Banayo. "We have requested NFA to furnish us a copy of their report so we can scrutinize it," he said.

 

Pangilinan said he is "exploring" the possibility of revisiting the law that created the NFA in order to possible propose some amendments that would prevent such abuses.

 

"The charter of the NFA is over three decades old. It may be time to revise it given the many changes that have taken place in the agriculture and food sector these past several decades," he said.

 

The NFA was created on Sept. 26, 1972 through Presidential Decree No. 4. It was initially called the National Grains Authority, which was responsible for integrating the growth and development of the grains industry.

 

On Jan. 14, 1981, through PD No. 1770, the NGA became the NFA. The decree widened the agency’s commodity coverage to include food items like raw or fresh fruits and vegetables and fish and marine, manufactured, processed, or packaged food products.

 

Subsidized NFA rice for poor families is sold at P25/kilo. In "poorest areas," it is sold at P18.25/kilo.

PRC: 310 new physical, occupational therapists

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Thursday that 310 out of 627 passed the Physical and Occupational Therapists Licensure Examinations.

The successful Physical Therapist examinees who garnered the ten (10) highest places are the following:

RANK

                               N A M E

SCHOOL

RATING(%)

1

ARDIE ANTONIO AGUILAR

SAINT JUDE COLLEGE-MANILA

85.25

2

MARIA SUZANNE LESACA DATUIN

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES-MANILA

84.45

3

MARK ANGEL BERNARDINO SERRA

UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS

83.55

4

CHRISTIAN CYRIL MILLANES ARAFOL

SAN JUAN DE DIOS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION, INC

82.85

5

MA JOYCE DIANE TAN PECHO

OUR LADY OF FATIMA UNIVERSITY-VALENZUELA

82.60

6

ALVIN CLYDE BRODITH BERDELAO

OUR LADY OF FATIMA UNIVERSITY-QC

82.10

7

JUDE RENZ IPANAG CABAYAN

SAINT JUDE COLLEGE-MANILA

82.05

8

GOLDAMIER MARIE NERI CATBAGAN

LORMA COLLEGE

82.00

9

APRIL RAE OREDINA VILLAVICENCIO

VELEZ COLLEGE

81.85

10

CRISTY NIÑA DASIGAN ISIDERIO

SAINT JUDE COLLEGE-MANILA

81.80

 

 

               The successful Occupational Therapist examinees who garnered the two (2) highest places are the following:

RANK

                                  N A M E

SCHOOL

RATING(%)

1

DENIS BENJAMIN ERBERT JOSE POLICAR

UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES-MANILA

81.40

2

GWENNYTH MAYE MONTECILLO FRANZA

VELEZ COLLEGE

80.60        

Doctor says Abao’s family was anxious to have slug removed from victim’s leg

by cebuweb

EDILBERTO “Delby” Abao went under the knife last Dec. 28 to remove a bullet slug embedded in his right thigh, even though his sugar level was high at 523.7. He died shortly after.

This information was given to the fact-finding team created by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7 Director Pedro Noval Jr. by Dr. Oliver Earl Aliño, who operated on Abao.

Abao, head of the Mayor’s Squadron in the northern town of Medellin, Cebu, was accidentally shot past 11 p.m. last Dec. 27

Aliño, who also signed the victim’s death certificate, told the fact-finding team he noticed the slug while looking at the victim’s X-ray result.

“The patient’s pulse was normal and there was no sign of internal bleeding or hematoma,” he told the fact-finding team composed of DILG field officers Jonah Pino, Bob John Villagonzalo, Grace Caburnay, Richard Ouano and Veneranda Cardoza.

Admission

Aliño said he had advised removing the slug from the victim’s thigh.

At the time, he knew that, based on Abao’s fasting blood sugar result, Abao’s sugar level was 523.7.

He administered local anesthesia on the patient since it was a minor operation.

While exploring Abao’s right thigh, the slug was no longer in its location based on the X-ray result. He ordered another X-ray taken of the victim’s thigh around 2 p.m.

Forty minutes later, he proceeded with the second exploration, but the patient

suddenly felt pain and said: “Sakit (It hurts).” From then on, Abao would move his leg every time he felt pain.

Aliño said he ordered Marphy Limalima, one of the nurses assisting him, to give the patient pain reliever. The patient ended up consuming 15 cc during the whole procedure.

Aliño said when the slug was finally removed from Abao’s thigh the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure (BP) went up.

“I ordered my nurses to prepare medicine for hypertension to control his BP. But when we re-checked his BP, it went down to 80/60. So we were not able to give him the medicine for hypertension. Instead, I ordered two lines of IV (intravenous) fluids for the patient in case his blood pressure would go down again since he had a very erratic blood pressure at that time,” Aliño said.

The doctor said Abao was taken out of the operating room at 3:30 p.m.

He talked with the patient’s relatives and told them not to give him food yet. He also advised them to raise his (Abao’s) right leg.

He said he gave the slug to a girl whom he believed to be the victim’s relative in the hospital hallway.

Around 4:30 p.m., Aliño said he rushed to Abao’s room after he was told the patient had become cyanotic or “nilagom” (had turned black).

“Despite our effort to revive him, the patient passed away. I pronounced him dead at 5:10 p.m.,” Aliño said.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 filed homicide charges against Ramirez before the Cebu Provincial Prose-cutor’s Office last Jan. 15.

The victim’s son Edelito and the latter’s friend Aldrin Inot said Abao told them it was Mayor Ricardo Ramirez who shot him.

All the others involved in the case, though, said Abao was struck by a stray bullet.

Ombuds to join probe into Ramirez case

by By Mylen P. Manto, /BRP

The Office of the Ombudsman Visayas-7 will coordinate with the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in investigating Mayor Ricardo Ramirez of Medellin for the death of his head of security.

Cops ‘kept’ most of stolen $6K?

by cebuweb

A SEAMAN and his wife are asking the anti-graft office to investigate the Danao City Police Office’s theft and robbery section, saying cops there may be keeping a large chunk of the US$6,000 two teenagers took from their home last Nov. 28.

The mother of one of the suspected robbers, 19-year-old Clint Casas, returned part of the money to the police last Dec. 1.

Neil Muñoz said in an interview yesterday that the police told him and his wife Marichu that only $303 was returned.

“I think there was more but they want to spend it for themselves,” he said.

He said that two thieves, given that they had foreign currency, could not possibly spend so much in a span of a few days that only $300 would be left.

The lost amount, at yesterday’s foreign exchange rate of P44.373 to a dollar, translates to over P250,000.

Not hiding money

On his part, Danao City Police Station Chief Eddie Recamara said he is investigating SPO3 Castor Laurel, who failed to record in the blotter the return of the $303.

Recamara said the Danao police are not hiding the rest of the money as accused by the Muñoz couple.

Muñoz said he began suspecting that the police were keeping his cash after he noticed that after Dec. 1, the section’s operatives were no longer as aggressive in helping him locate Casas, pursue a case against Casas’s 15-year-old companion, and get his money back.

Police had arrested the 15-year-old suspect who, during questioning, gave up Casas.

Casas’s mother returned part of the money to the police.

Unusual

Also, there was something different in the way they handled the return of the $303, Muñoz said.

He said they lost the money on the evening of Nov. 28, when two thieves entered broke into the master’s bedroom and took it from his wife’s billfold while the rest of the family gathered elsewhere in the home.

The money was intended to pay for a parcel of land he could return to after life at sea becomes out of the question.

His son had caught a glimpse of one of the thieves and picked out the 15-year-old boy from a rogue’s gallery the next day.

The police arrested the boy who, during questioning, gave Casas up.

“I and a few policemen went to the mother of Clint Casas and asked her where Clint was but she said he was not around. Later on the same day, I was told that Mrs. Casas already went to the police station to return the money but immediately left. I was just told to go to the station and picked up the money—$303,” Muñoz told Sun.Star Cebu.

After this, he said, the police no longer showed any interest in the case.

He said he did not bother getting his $303 back, finding it not as important as how the police got it in the first place.

First, he said, the return of the amount from Lilia Casas was allegedly not recorded on the police blotter and there was no effort at all to have Lilia give up her son.

“I asked them why they did not put pressure on the woman and they could only tell me that they were afraid the woman would just tell her son to run,” Muñoz said.

Second, the police have been unwilling to give a formal statement as to the return of the money.

Instead, a policeman sharing Lilia’s family name, SPO1 Matias Casas Jr., had issued a “police report” saying that the $303 was actually recovered from Mata during his

arrest.

This contradicted the actual entry in the police unit’s blotter that said Mata only had with him local currency, a mobile phone and a .22 mini-revolver, when he was taken in for questioning. Danao City’s police chief, Recamara, said he knew of the incident after the couple complained about Laurel early this month.

Laurel allegedly had given the money to SPO4 Edgar Awe of the now dissolved Danao police’s theft and robbery section.

When this happened, he was not the officer-in-charge of the police station yet, Recamora said.

Airport cop suspended with no pay

by cebuweb

AN airport police officer was suspended for three months without pay for manhandling a porter accused of taking the baggage of a Korean national in 2009.

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas suspended Joel Solante, a policeman assigned at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority in Lapu-Lapu City, after he was found administratively liable of simple misconduct.

The ombudsman also warned Solante that a repetition of same offense will be dealt with severely.

Ombud ends probe on Roa's P.5M but Santiago refuses to divulge contents of report pending approval

by By Mylen P. Manto/JPM

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas’ fact-finding team already completed its investigation on the reported illegal release of P500,000 to former Department of Tourism regional director Patria Aurora Roa.

Conference on anti-poverty program set

by By Mylen P. Manto/JPM

A conference will be conducted today in the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to tackle issues surrounding the program, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Gutom.

Regularization for the deserving CH set to fill up 1,000 positions

by By Jessica Ann R. Pareja

Over 1,000 vacant positions in the Cebu City Government will be filled out this year.

Privatization of some gov’t services mulled

by By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. is looking into the possibility of privatizing some services of the government and leaving these to experts in the private sector who can do a job better.

Ochoa told “Talking Points” on government DZRB that lack of expertise and funds to continue the operations of some government entities were affecting the services to the public.

“Ang bias ko talaga in government is we have to privatize as much as we can ng mga services,” Ochoa said. “Kasi ‘yung expertise ng government is limited so there are a lot of areas that should be left to the private sector who is more equipped, has more logistics, and who are experts on those fields.”

The Executive Secretary, however, did not specify yet the services that will be lined up for privatization.

Ochoa added that in the case of government-run NBN 4 and sequestered television networks RPN 9 and IBC 13, there was no final decision yet and discussions were still underway with Secretary Herminio Coloma, head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, which overseas these stations.

“So along those lines, pinag-uusapan naming ‘yung magiging kalagayan ng mga networks na ‘to, kung papano namin ito eventually mapa-privatize pero wala pa. It’s still in the process… pinag-aaralan pa lang nang mabuti,” he said.

Executive Secretary not threatened by imminent entry of Aquino's troubleshooter

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. is not threatened with the imminent entry of former senator Manuel Roxas II, the defeated running mate of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, in the Cabinet.

Palace prepares responsible parenthood bill

To come up with a win-win solution on the much-debated reproductive health (RH) bill, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III decided to have his own version and called it the"responsible parenthood" (RP) bill.

Mayor-elect Quiño objects to recount

by cebuweb

COMPOSTELA Mayor-elect Joel Quiño yesterday said they are waiting for the copy of the Comelec 2nd Division order annulling their proclamation as winners in the May 1, 2010 elections. That way, they can file a petition to elevate the case to the Comelec en banc.

Election watchdog nominates judge

by cebuweb

BARELY a couple of weeks after his nomination as Court of Appeals (CA) associate justice, Regional Trial Court Branch 58 Judge Gabriel Ingles was again nominated for commissioner of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Ingles said Edsel Bacalso, Consortium on Electoral Reforms (CER) officer, informed him over the phone that his name was included in the list of nominees for Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairpersons and commissioners submitted to President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III last Jan. 12.

New Comelec chief wants to probe 'Hello, Garci'

by By David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Newly installed Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Sixto Brillantes on Thursday said he wants to investigate the "Hello, Garci" wiretapping scandal linking then Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano Jr. to a plot to rig the May 2004 presidential election.

Brillantes wants ARMM polls postponed

Ika-4 na araw pa lang niya bilang Comelec Chairman pero kontrobersyal na ang unang rekomendasyon ni Atty. Sixto Brillantes. Nais ni Brillantes na ipagpaliban muna ang ARMM  elections ngayong Agosto at isabay na lang sa 2013 national elections.

Belmonte favors postponing ARMM polls

by By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte Jr. favors the postponement of the regional elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to synchronize it with the 2013 mid-term elections.

CPP denies 'Ka Bart' rescue try

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Thursday denied the military’s allegation that communist rebels tried to break out of jail a captured New People’s Army (NPA) leader.

Makati police official sacked over Fores carjacking

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MAKATI CITY, Philippines – A Makati police precinct commander was removed from his post on Thursday after carjackers stole the vehicle of Mar Roxas' cousin on Wednesday.

Carjack ring 'chief' denies hand in killings

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The alleged leader of one of the most notorious carjacking syndicates in the country has denied involvement in the torture and murders of Emerson Lozano, Ernane Sensil and Venson Evangelista, a TV Patrol report said Thursday.

Exclusive: 'Gang leader' denies hand in Lozano, Evangelista cases

Nagsalita na ang sinasabing lider ng Dominguez carnapping syndicate na si Raymond Dominguez. Sa kanyang pagharap sa ABS-CBN, umalma si Dominguez sa pagkakadawit sa kanya sa pagpatay kina Emerson Lozano at Venson Evangelista, gayundin sa miyembro ng Baywalk Bodies na si Rejoice Rivera.

Spare parts capital may yield clues to carjacking cases

by By Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

PAMPANGA, Philippines - Police are now scouring several areas of Central Luzon, hoping to find the green Toyota Land Cruiser that went missing since the abduction of Venson Evangelista last week.

DOJ chief nixes call to revive death penalty

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Thursday opposed calls for the re-imposition of the death penalty following a series of heinous crimes in the country.

DOJ issues HK summons for hostage probe

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice is granting the request of the Hong Kong coroner’s office seeking its assistance in the issuance of summons to 116 listed witnesses in line with the hostage taking incident in Manila last year where 8 Hong Kong tourists died.

“Assuming this is covered by the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or MLAT, we are willing to cooperate,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

She said the DOJ started distributing the summons Monday by personal service and most of the witnesses already received the summons.

De Lima said under the MLAT, giving of testimony by the witnesses is voluntary, thus they cannot be compelled to testify.

Included in the list of witnesses are police officers, Police Superintendent Orlando Yebra, who acted as negotiator, PNP Director General Jesus Versoza, Police Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay, Special Action Force director Leocadio Santiago, Jr. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, mediamen Jake Maderazo, Erwin Tulfo and Michael Rogas of RMN, Susan Enriquez of GMA 7, and Diana Chan among others.

De Lima said her name was not included in the list. “If there is no request for the DOJ Secretary to be part of the proceedings, then my attendance is not essential," she said.

She added what has yet to be determined is the mode by which the testimonies will be given to the Hong Kong Coroner’s office if it would be by personal appearance or long distance.

“Wala pang agreement kung pupunta ba ang witnesses sa Hong Kong if they agree to cooperate and testify, pwede na ba sa office of the Consul General, oral deposition or dito na lang via video link,” De Lima added.

If their presence would be required in Hong Kong, all expenses will be shouldered by the Hong Kong government. The proceedings will start on February 14 and last for 25 days.

Webb agrees to cooperate in revived Vizconde probe

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The family of Hubert Webb on Thursday agreed to cooperate with the ongoing reinvestigation on the June 30, 1991 Vizconde massacre.

AFP chief wants successor to have longer term

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Ricardo David wants his successor to have longer term than his "very short" 8-month tour of duty.

Prosecutor says plea-bargain deal with Garcia doesn’t drop other charges

Deputy Special Prosecutor Jesus A. Micael on Thursday denied that he and another prosecutor had agreed to drop all other charges filed against former military comptroller Carlos Garcia and his wife and three sons under a plea-bargain agreement.

Bongbong distances self from US court's ruling on Marcos victims

The son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. on Thursday said his family is not party to the case where an American judge approved the distribution of $7.5 million to the more than 7,500 human rights victims during Marcos' reign.

'GMA should be held accountable for sins of EDSA 2'

from (title unknown) by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should be held accountable for her betrayal of EDSA 2, the bloodless revolt that made her President 10 years ago.

In a statement, the leftist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said the 10th anniversary of EDSA People Power 2 should serve as a reminder that changing the president is not enough to bring about fundamental change.

The group noted that EDSA 2, which removed then President Joseph Estrada, was "never about bringing Arroyo to power" but about fighting corruption and abuse.

"We are reminded that what turned out to be the principal beneficiary of EDSA 2, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, betrayed ‘people power’ and embarked on 9 years of anti-people rule marked by corruption, election fraud, gross human rights violations and the sell-out of national interest to foreign powers," Bayan said.

The group also said that 10 years after EDSA 2, Arroyo remains in power as a congresswoman along with 2 of her sons, Diosdado and Juan Miguel.

Bayan called on President Benigno Aquino III to make sure that GMA is made accountable for her crimes.

"President Aquino has the biggest responsibility and the actual capacity to make Arroyo accountable. While Aquino’s expose’ on corruption may make for good soundbytes, the prosecution of Arroyo and her cohorts is the real indication that government is serious in going after the former president," the group said.

SC ruling on Hacienda Luisita out soon - Corona

Chief Justice Renato Corona on Thursday said the Supreme Court will soon come out with its ruling on the two-decade-old Hacienda Luisita land dispute, which involves the family of President Benigno Aquino III.

Corona decries 'propaganda war' on high court rulings

Chief Justice Renato Corona on Thursday denounced what he said was a "propaganda war" on the Supreme Court's recent high-profile decisions, while denying there was a rift between the court and the executive branch. President Aquino had criticized the court as "turning back the clock" when it voided the Truth Commission created by Aquino.

Findings on botanist's death wailed, hailed

by By Ira Pedrasa, abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The AGHAM - Advocates of Science and Technology for the People -- called the findings of the government prosecutors on the death of botanist Leonard Co and 2 of his companions a “whitewash.”

Military not liable for death of botanist: gov't probe

by By Sheryll Mundo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - A fact-finding panel composed of prosecutors of the justice department and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officials said the bullets that killed botanist Dr. Leonardo Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julio Borromeo were not fired from the position of the military or state forces.

Alleged Abu Sayyaf member nabbed in Zamboanga

by By Queenie Casimiro, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – An alleged Abu Sayyaf member accused of taking part in the Sipadan kidnapping in April 2000 has been arrested by police.

Abandoned Pinay cleaners find hope in new jobs

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

AJMAN, UAE – New jobs renewed the hopes of 42 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abandoned by their employer in Ajman.

Filipino Cathay Pacific flight attendant dies at Hong Kong airport

A Filipino flight attendant of Cathay Pacific died after a 12-hour flight from Italy to Hong Kong, an official of the airline in the Philippines said on Thursday.

Rosemarie Perez was found unconscious at the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International Airport at around 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, said Jan Agoncillo, Cathay Pacific's assistant marketing manager in the Philippines.

 

A report from Radio-TV Hong Kong quoted a spokesman for Cathay Pacific as saying that the attendant - a senior purser - did not report feeling unwell before collapsing.

 

In an email to GMANews.TV, Agoncillo said no irregularities were reported during the flight (flight number CX234) from Milan, Italy which arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport at around 6:20 a.m. on Thursday.

 

"Shortly afterwards, she was found unconscious in the arrivals hall," Agoncillo said. She added that Cathay Pacific is awaiting the autopsy report of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong, which pronounced the flight attendant dead on Thursday.

 

Agoncillo said the "Cathay Pacific management has contacted her husband in the Philippines and has arranged for her family members to come to Hong Kong."

 

She said Perez has been a cabin attendant for Cathay Pacific since 1998.

Fil-Am nurse 'on mission' held by BOC at NAIA

The Customs Bureau Thursday held a naturalized American nurse of Philippine descent after arriving at NAIA with at least two bags full of undocumented morphine and ephedrine - regulated drugs in the Philippines.

The nurse, identified as Gina Aplicador, a naturalized US citizen, resides in Joliet, Illinois, said Customs airport deputy district collector Thess Roque.

 

Roque said that Customs examiner Rene Agulan became suspicious of one of Aplicador’s belongings — a US military duffel bag— as the nurse was approaching the Customs examination lane Wednesday morning for processing.

 

Aplicador supposedly told the examiner she had nothing to declare, but when asked what was inside the duffel bag, she said it contained medicines for a medical mission in Eastern Samar, according to a BOC report.

 

She was then asked by the examiner for an import permit, or at least a deed of donation or a deed of acceptance from the Philippine Consulate in Chicago to prove that the package of medicines was legal.

 

However, she only had with her a list of the drugs inside the duffel bag and a letter from the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, certifying the medical mission that will supposedly be held Jan. 28-Feb. 12, 2011.

 

The Customs Bureau turned over the nurse to the Philippine Druge Enforcement Agency, Roque said.

 

The nurse explained the medicines were purchased using collections and personal donations from parishioners of Joliet diocese, and that over 30 members of the medical mission were asked to bring with them similar bags of drugs to save on shipping costs.

 

She said this would be her second year to join the medical mission to Borongan, Eastern Samar, which has been going on since 2005.

 

Last year, she brought a similar package into the country and did not have any problems with it, the nurse said.

 

Vials of ephedrine and morphine were supposedly among the shipment of drugs that Aplicador allegedly brought in.

 

Agulan said possession of regulated drugs without a medical prescription or an import permit is illegal.

 

Roque said she ordered her office to verify with the Borongan Diocese if there is indeed a scheduled medical mission in the area. She added she will also verify the identities of the mission’s members.

Devotees mark Feast of Sto. Niño in Vienna

by By Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

VIENNA, Austria – Filipino devotees recently celebrated the Feast of the Sto. Niño or the Sinulog Festival in Vienna.

$1: 44.500

$1: 44.500 (P44.26)

Euro 1: 59.7837

Peso falls anew as traders see China economy cooling down

The peso fell on Thursday after making a temporary rebound on Wednesday as expectations of a cooling down China prompted investors to dump Asian currencies in favor of the US dollar.

Customs files P1.3-B smuggilng case vs steel importer

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs has filed a smuggling case against Sanyo Seiki Steel Corporation for misdeclaring, underweighing and undervaluing various steel and stainless steel importations in 2010 by nearly 90%.

Unbowed China leader warns US

WASHINGTON—Chinese President Hu Jintao, unbowed by pressure on a state visit, warned the United States on Thursday not to press on Taiwan and Tibet as he insisted that the rising Asian power sought cooperation.

50 dead in Iraq as suicide blasts rock holy city

KARBALA—A spate of explosions across Iraq on Thursday killed at least 50 people, most of them in twin suicide car bombings in the holy city of Karbala, the third major attack in as many days.

Tunisia debates a future without powerful Ben Ali party

by by Imed Lamloum, Agence France-Presse

TUNIS, Tunisia - Emboldened by a popular revolt that ended president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's authoritarian rule, many Tunisians now demand the banning of his state party, a symbol of corruption and repression.

Haiti mulls ex-dictator's intentions as crisis deepens

by by Edouard Guihaire, Agence France-Presse

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti's political crisis was deepening after aides to Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier said he intended to return to power, and international monitors slammed November's presidential elections.

Mayweather's trainer picks Mosley over Pacquiao

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – A close fight to be won by "Sugar" Shane Mosley. This is how Roger Mayweather, trainer and uncle of undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., sees the match between Mosley and Filipino pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao on May 7.

Roach prefers Pacquiao-Marquez III

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao’s boxing trainer, Freddie Roach, said he would have preferred his ward to have a third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez if not for the Mexican champion’s reported insistence on a big pay check.

Aquino agrees to watch Azkals match vs Mongolia in Bacolod

President Aquino will be among the thousands of fans when the Philippines battles Mongolia in the first leg of their qualifying series in the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City.

PBA: J-Wash leads conference best player race

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – Looks like San Miguel’s Jay Washington is on his way to getting his second straight PBA Best Player of the Conference citation as he continues to be the league’s statistical leader.

Rain or Shine gives up Mercado, Reyes to Air21 in trade

All-star point guard and former Philippine team member Sol Mercado and Jay-R Reyes, a 6-foot-7 slot man who has never really lived up to his potential, were shipped by Rain or Shine to Air21 in a blockbuster deal that was being finalized until late Thursday night.

Mavericks beat Lakers to end 6-game skid (AP)

When his top players are healthy, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has the luxury of bringing off the bench Jason Terry and Shawn Marion, a pair of longtime starters capable of scoring 20 points any night. Dallas, however, hasn't been anywhere near healthy the last few weeks. So Carlisle has been starting one, the other or both.

Kidd was 8 of 12 after going 1 of 14 over his previous two games. Jason Terry and Shawn Marion added 22 points each. The Mavericks made a similar turnaround, going from five straight losses by at least 10 points each to a convincing win over the two-time defending champion Lakers.

The Lakers led by 11 in the first half and were up 8 midway through the third quarter. Then the Mavericks got rolling. They were up 9 going into the fourth quarter, and Kobe Bryant was unable to force a tight finish. Pau Gasol scored 23 points as the Lakers lost for only the second time in 10 games. Bryant had 21 points and 10 assists.

CELTICS 86, PISTONS 82 Paul Pierce scored 22 points, and Ray Allen hit a jumper with 25 seconds left to give host Boston its first lead of the second half and its fourth straight win. The loss ended Detroit’s season-high three-game winning streak.

MAGIC 99, SIXERS 98 Ryan Anderson scored 20 points and Dwight Howard added 18 as host Orlando overcame a 7-point second-half deficit to outlast the Philadelphia in overtime.

SPURS 104, RAPTORS 95 DeJuan Blair had 22 points and 11 rebounds to help host San Antonio rally from an 11-point halftime deficit to beat Toronto.

Manu Ginobili scored 23 points and Tony Parker added 17 for the Spurs, who improved their league-best record to 36-6.

NUGGETS 112, THUNDER 107 Carmelo Anthony had 35 points and Chauncey Billups and Nene each added 16 points for host Denver, which took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter.

SUNS 106, CAVALIERS 98 Grant Hill scored 27 points, Steve Nash had 15 points and 15 assists, and visiting Phoenix won its fourth game in a row, and sent Cleveland to its 14th straight defeat.

Cleveland trimmed a 17-point deficit in the second half to 3 but could not get closer. The Cavaliers (8-33) have not won since Dec. 18.

HORNETS 103, GRIZZLIES 102 Marcus Thornton broke up an inbounds pass with 14 seconds left in overtime and then finished a fast break with a reverse layup, lifting host New Orleans over Memphis.

Bucks 100, Wizards 87 Keyon Dooling scored a season-high 23 points, Corey Maggette added 21, and Milwaukee dropped Washington to 0-20 on the road.

Lapid wants billboards in English or Filipino

All signs and billboards in the country will be translated to either English or Filipino, if Senator Lito Lapid's bill is passed into law.

Senate Bill 2639 seeks to amend section 447of the Local Government Code (LGC) to require all signs, signboards, or billboards written in a foreign language other than English to bear the corresponding Filipino or English translation.

 

Under the LGC, the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the Sangguniang Bayan are required to “regulate the display of and fix the license fees for signs, signboards, or billboards at the place or places where the profession or business advertised thereby is, in whole or in part, conducted."

 

Under Lapid’s bill, the LGC provision shall also be made to say that the said “signs, signboards, or billboards shall be written in Filipino or English, or, if written in a foreign language other than English, shall bear corresponding Filipino or English translation."

 

“It is incumbent upon the State to instill and maintain a sense of nationalism among the dwellers living within its jurisdiction, whether they are Filipinos or migrants," Lapid said in his proposed measure.

 

He likewise explained that with the proliferation of the foreign establishments in the country, Filipinos are “left to wonder" what their signs mean and what these businesses are for.

 

“We, as Filipinos, should never be subjected to the alienation and seclusion that we are experiencing due to this phenomenon," he said.

GMA's slim look makes heads turn

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - What's with former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's new look?

A slim Mrs. Arroyo landed on the front page today of the broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer, with an article about her saying she's "stress-free, fat-free."

The 63-year-old Arroyo made heads turn when she went to the wake of former Social Security System chair Thelmo Cunanan at the chapel of Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City last Tuesday night.

According to the Inquirer, she stunned onlookers with her "svelte figure and glowing complexion."

Indeed, the accompanying photo showed off her alleged 25-inch waistline.

Now a Pampanga congresswoman, Arroyo revealed that "diet and lots of exercise" helped her shed off pounds. She exercises up to four times a week with her friend Cynthia Carreon, and has turned vegetarian too.

She added that her waistline was 31 inches at one point.

Last December, Arroyo also made heads turn when she showed up in Congress with a more flattering hairstyle.

House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman commented then that Arroyo looks more relaxed after "the burden of the highest office of the land is not anymore on her."

Teased as 'small,' man cuts off penis

by abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines - Teased by his friends for having a "small" sex organ, a man in Cagayan de Oro City did the unimaginable: he cut it off.

Police said the man cut off his own penis with a bolo.

The man, whose name was withheld by authorities, has been declared out of harm, but doctors said they will not be able to restore the dismembered organ.

Myrna Villanueva, a psychologist, said the man should be closely monitored by doctors because of his condition.

Villanueva said the man may fall into depression once he realizes what has happened to him, and that he may even hurt himself again.

"Something is [now] missing, and the very important part that is missing speaks of masculinity, power and strength of a man... It's not normal. The fact nga ang normal na tao is to preserve one's self," she said.

She said the man must undergo therapy and counseling for him to recover mentally and emotionally.

HIV patients 3 times as likely to suffer strokes

by Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON - People with HIV are three times as likely to suffer strokes, said a study out Wednesday that has led researchers to question if antiretroviral drugs could be to blame.

Among people living in the United States with the virus that causes AIDS, stroke hospitalizations rose 67% over the past decade, while in the general population they fell 7%, said the study in the journalNeurology.

Researchers examined all stroke hospitalizations in the United States over the past 10 years and found that the total declined over the course of the decade with 71,742 fewer strokes overall.

But among people with HIV, 537 more strokes were tabulated in the same time period.

People with HIV showed an increase in a certain kind of stroke, called ischemic, which is caused by blood clots to the brain.

Ischemic strokes are the most common type.

"The average age for a stroke among people with HIV was in the 50s, which is much lower than that of those without HIV," said Bruce Ovbiagele, professor of neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego.

"This finding suggests that HIV or HIV treatments may be directly related to stroke occurrence."

The World Health Organization says antiretroviral therapy has resulted in "huge reductions" in death rates among HIV sufferers, though people in poorer countries often cannot afford the drug regimens.

Of the total 33.3 million people living with HIV in the world, at least 14.6 million were in need of antiretroviral therapy in 2009, said WHO and UNAIDS.

"While these therapies have greatly increased life expectancy, they may boost the presence of risk factors associated with stroke," said Ovbiagele.

"Another possibility is that longer exposure to HIV as a result of greater survival, even at low viral load levels, may allow for the virus to increase stroke risk."

2010 warmest ever year, says UN weather agency

The UN's World Meteorological Organization said Thursday that 2010 was the warmest year on record, confirming a "significant" long-term trend of global warming.

 


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