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

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 6, 2011 Major News Stories

January 6, 2011 Major News Stories
January 6, 2011 Major News Stories


Labor coalition mulls wage hike petition

by By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/FPL

Amidst the rising cost of basic commodities, the Cebu Labor Coalition headed by the Alliance of Progressive Labor is contemplating to file a wage hike petition within the first quarter of the year.

Jeepney, bus rate hikes to follow taxi fare hike

Commuters should expect more bad news this New Year as jeepney and bus fares are likely to increase due to higher fuel prices and the increase in highway toll rates.

Bread prices seen going up

Prices of bread may go up in the coming weeks if prices of flour and sugar, as well as other components of bread production, do not decline soon.

According to Gardenia Bakeries Philippines Inc. president Simplicio Umali Jr., a bread price hike is imminent as bakers may pass on to consumers soon the increase in flour and sugar prices from late 2010, unless President Aquino signs an order removing the tariff on wheat.

"We haven't passed on to consumers the P20-a-bag increase in the price of flour last year. But the (Department of Trade and Industry) said President Benigno Aquino III would be signing soon an executive order removing the tariff on wheat. That should reduce flour prices by around P20 a bag,'' he said.

While waiting for prices of major production inputs to go down, he said the price of the more affordable loaf bread “Pinoy Tasty”, manufactured by various local bakers including Gardenia, would also have to go up, likely by as much as P2 a loaf, he said.

The 400-gram “Pinoy Tasty” currently sells for only P36, significantly cheaper than the branded varieties, which are priced between P42 and P57 a loaf.

The program was initiated by various bakers in October as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts and in a bid to get Filipinos to eat more bread.

The P36 “Pinoy Tasty” price tag, however, could increase to P38 if prices of major bread components such as flour and sugar would not decline in the coming weeks.

Umali said that bakers involved in the “Pinoy Tasty” project filed before Christmas in 2010 a petition with the DTI to jack up the price of the lower priced loaf bread to P38 a loaf.

"The DTI said they would review our proposal this month, to look more closely at the price of sugar. They requested us not to increase the price just yet as sugar prices might start to go down in the coming weeks,'' he said.

He said sugar now sold for around P65 a kilo, and would likely be priced at that level up to the second week of February. To prevent any price hike, sugar prices should go down to as low as P52 a kilo.

Should sugar prices slightly decline, he said the increase in the price of the “Pinoy Tasty” could be tempered to just around 50 centavos a loaf. A P58-a-kilo sugar price level, on the other hand, would allow bakers to keep the price of “Pinoy Tasty” at the current P36 a loaf.

The price of branded loaves, however, would still have to go up, although slightly, he said.

He said sugar and flour were not the only production inputs that had higher prices now.

The prices of packaging materials, he said, were also expected to increase this year. The prices of baking oils, shortening, and liquefied petroleum gas had likewise gone up.

The recent increase in toll rates on major expressways was also a contributing factor to the impending bread price hike.

Senator urges Palace to form consumer rights body

An opposition leader in the Senate has urged Malacañang to create a special task force or an inter-agency that would specifically focus on consumers' rights.

While there were existing laws that will protect the consumers, Senate Minority Leader Alan Cayetano pointed out the lack of implementation by concerned agencies of government.

“As a New Year's gift to our countrymen, I hope the Palace will focus on the issue of consumer rights in our country. I believe that the Filipinos are the most abused consumers in the world,” Cayetano said at a press conference on Wednesday.

He specifically cited the expiration dates and return policy, quality of products and the price increase issues confronting the consumers.

In other countries for instance, Cayetano said the expiration of phone cards could last up to a year compared to a one-month to three-month expiration period in the Philippines.

“On parking, if you buy in a mall you still have to pay for parking,” he said.

“So these are all issues regarding the rights of consumers. So I hope there will be a special task force or there should be a cluster together with the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) , DTI Department of Trade and Industry) and the consumers advocates in the country,” he further said.

In relation to this, Cayetano agreed with Malacañang’s position that the proposed toll fee hikes should be gradual to mitigate its impact on road users.

In fact, the senator said there should be an audit first before the government approves any proposed toll increases.

“I'd like to see an audit first before we give in to their request for toll increases,” he said.

Floods, landslides kill 25

Pumanhik na sa 25 ang patay sa landslide at baha na dulot ng pag-uulan sa limang rehiyon sa bansa. Idineklara na rin ang “state of calamity” sa buong lalawigan ng Agusan del Sur. Patuloy naman ang evacuation ng mga apektadong residente sa ibang probinsya.

Cold spell to last until February: PAGASA


MANILA, Philippines – Baguio City, Metro Manila, and other parts of the country will continue to feel the cold spell  until February, a weather forecaster said Wednesday.

Robert Sawi, senior forecaster of state weather bureau PAGASA told radio dzMM that the northeast monsoon, locally known as the “hanging amihan,” is causing the temperature plunge.

He said the phenomenon will last until the middle of February.

“Karamihan po, malalamig [ang] temperature na nararanasan. Sa Northern Luzon, Baguio City, medyo mababa na temperature na nare-record doon. About 9.6 degrees Celsius na,” he said.

The mercury reading in the nation’s summer capital on Wednesday was the lowest recorded since the beginning of the cold season in 2010, according to PAGASA's records.

The coldest temperature in the city was recorded at 6.3 degrees Celsius on January 18, 1961.

He said PAGASA recorded a 17 degrees Celsius reading in Batanes, while Metro Manila had an 18.5 degrees Celsius reading on Wednesday.

Sawi expects the summer of 2011 to be rainy because of the La Niña phenomenon.

Baguio temperature falls to 9.6; Metro Manila hits 18.5


MANILA, Philippines - The temperature in Baguio City has dropped further to 9.6 degrees Celsius, the local branch of weather bureau PAGASA said on Wednesday.

Senior citizens to get 5% discount on water, electricity bills


MANILA, Philippines - Senior citizens will start enjoying a 5% discount on their electricity and water bills this January.

Separate statements from the power sector watchdog Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and water services Maynilad confirmed this on Wednesday.

According to the ERC, senior citizens may avail of the discount if they meet the following criteria:

  1. monthly electricity consumption does not exceed 100 kilowatthour
  2. installed electricity meter is registered under the name of the senior citizen
  3. other qualification requirements

According to Maynilad, the senior citizens' water service connection must meet the following criteria to qualify for the discount:

  1. classified under the Residential or Semi-Business category,
  2. registered in the name of the senior citizen
  3. monthly basic consumption of the account does exceed 30 cu.m.

Discount on electricity

ERC executive director Francis Saturnino Juan said the senior citizen discount will likely take effect 15 days after the rules for the discount is published.

"We are targeting to publish the new rules within this week or early next week," Juan said. "The rules will still be published in a newspaper. Effectivity is 15 days thereafter."

Other conditions for a senior customer to qualify for the discount will be determined by the implementing rules and regulation of Republic Act No. 9994, which grants the 5% discount, and the supplemental rules that the ERC will issue.

The law's implementing rules and regulations (IRR), which took effect on July 6, 2010, tasked ERC to come up with the supplementing guidelines within 6 months from that said date.

Distribution utilities (DU) -- which include Manila Electric Company (Meralco), electric cooperatives, and others -- will then start implementing the discount after the DU approves the senior citizens' application is approved.

Aside from the discount to be enjoyed by the senior citizens, the ERC said the government institution or non-stock, non-profit domestic organizations caring for senior citizens shall be entitled to 50% discount on their monthly electricity bill.

Discount on water

The senior citizen discount on water consumption, on the other hand, is effective immediately.

To avail of the discount, Maynilad said the senior citizen or his/her authorized representative should submit the following:

  1. accomplished application form
  2. photocopy of the Senior Citizen ID card issued by the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (original ID should be presented to Maynilad for proper verification),
  3. Statement of Account (water bill)
  4. special power of attorney executed by the senior citizen in favor of the authorized representative (if applicable).

Maynilad is the private water and wastewater services provider for the West Zone, which is composed of the cities of Manila (all but portions of San Andres and Sta. Ana), Quezon City (west of San Juan River, West Avenue, EDSA, Congressional, Mindanao Avenue, the northern part starting from the Districts of the Holy Spirit and Batasan Hills), Makati (west of South Super Highway), Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon-all in Metro Manila; Cavite City, and the towns of Bacoor, Imus, Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario-all in Cavite Province.

Governor says she can settle 93-1 issue without help of Cebu City officials

by cebuweb

SINCE the 93-1 issue concerns the property of the Province, Capitol said it should be the one to set conditions to resolve the matter.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia yesterday did not reveal what these conditions were but said she has tasked Capitol legal consultant and spokesperson Rory Jon Sepulveda to meet with Cebu City Administrator Jose Mari Poblete “so that (they can tackle the issue) without distraction and with more single-mindedness.”

Ordinance 93-1, passed by the PB in 1993, prescribes guidelines on the disposition of occupied Province-owned lots.

Lots covered by Ordinance 93-1 are located in Barangays Apas, Lahug, Busay, Kamputhaw, Capitol Site, Kalunasan, Lorega, Mabolo and Tejero, all in Cebu City. It allows Cebu City residents to own the Province-owned lots that they are occupying, after paying in full the amortization on the property in two years.

A 10-year extension was given to 93-1 occupants, but the period lapsed in 2004. Less than half of the nearly 5,000 Cebu City residents occupying 93-1 lots have paid the amortization on the land in full.

The plight of the lot occupants resulted in a proposed land swap between Capitol and City Hall, but talks bogged down.


Governor Garcia said she finds it “ironic” that those who are not in the position to decide on the issue are the ones who make a lot of noise.

She had earlier pointed out that Osmeña is the congressman of the south district of Cebu City. On the other hand, the 93-1 lots are in the north district.

She said she can resolve the 93-1 issue with or without Cebu City officials’


She said she has many options to settle the issue, including legal, economic, political and charitable ones. Asked to elaborate on charitable options, she merely said: “Charity begins at home.”

City Councilors Nida Cabrera and Sisinio Andales, both members of the 93-1 negotiating team, agree that Capitol has the say in terms of how the negotiation should go about.

No meddling

Cabrera agreed that the City is not a party to the issue and won't meddle if the Provincial Government would directly negotiate with the claimants.

“The City doesn't have a role if there is direct involvement with the beneficiaries, as long as Capitol accepts the proposal of the beneficiaries,” said Cabrera.

She said that Capitol could link up with national agencies while the City will only assist the beneficiaries financially.

But City Councilor Alvin Dizon said the city officials should be involved because 93-1 affects thousands of the city's constituents.

“Whether the governor likes it or not, the City values participation and consultation.

She may have the aces, but this involves the fate of 5,000 families and we (city officials) are after the protection of these informal settlers,” he said.


“If they treat us right, we might work with them, allow them to be part of the solution. But they are not. I can reach a solution with or without them,” Garcia said.

Osmeña said members of the 93-1 negotiation committee know the issue at heart. Cabrera had served as Barangay Luz chief while Dizon worked with the urban poor residing in 93-1 areas.

The congressman raised the issue following reports Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama had met with the governor to discuss 93-1.

Dizon said he does not care who gets to negotiate with Capitol over the issue, as long as the concerns of the lot occupants are considered.


He said he has been advocating for the occupants’ security of tenure even during the time of governor Vicente de la Serna, who signed the 93-1 ordinance.

In Garcia's term, Capitol called for the revocation of all Province-owned lots.

Capitol's stand is that the informal settlers have already forfeited their chance to pay for the property when they failed to meet several amortization deadlines.

City Councilor Noel Wenceslao said the City wants to resolve the issue before the governor ends her term in 2013.

Even if the 93-1 issue gets tied up with other issues on which the City and the Province had been at loggerheads, like the Ciudad project, appointing authority of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District and the ownership of Fuente Osmeña, Wenceslao said the most important thing is that the City will not be at a disadvantage.

Andales said Garcia can pick the person she wants to negotiate with in the City. He said the call of 93-1 lot occupants is to be given the chance to pay off the amortization on the property they occupy.

New DENR7 exec chief to look into Balili mess

by By Ryan Christopher J. Sorote/JMO

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7 has a new regional executive director in the person of Maximo Dichoso. His first order of business: Address pressing issues in Region 7, including the Balili controversy.

Dichoso formally assumed the post from Director Leonardo Sibbaluca yesterday.

In an interview following the turnover, Dichoso said he will personally visit the controversial Balili property in Barangay Tinaan, Naga to check and assess the area in accordance to complaints presented by concerned individuals and environmental advocates.

The purchase of the property by the provincial government became controversial after it was discovered that more than 80 percent of the lot is submerged in water. Last year, DENR 7 issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate to the Province of Cebu, which enables the province to dump coal ash at the property.

“We will see to it that it is (process) transparent,” Dischoso said, adding that he will assess the status of the property in the presence of representatives from different concerned sectors.

Dichoso said he also intends to gather environmental groups and private advocates “for everybody to come to express their sentiments” on present environmental issues like climate change.

Yesterday’s turnover ceremony was attended by DENR Usec. Atty. Ernesto Adobo Jr. and employees of the department. Sibbaluca will be transferred to DENR 13 or CARAGA region. He served DENR7 for more than four years.

In his speech, Dichoso outlined the six major areas being advocated by DENR: Eliminate opportunities for graft and corruption, advocate clean air and clean water, ensure compliance to environmental regulations, optimize benefits from land resources, and optimize benefits from mining.

“We need to pursue meaningful partnership and collaboration with the private sector and local government units (LGUs) to enable us to draw inputs or insights in enriching our “tuwid na daan” or good governance programs,” Dichoso said.

“We will be focusing on this six-point agenda without compromising other DENR programs for the coming years to better respond to the persistent issues in the environment and natural resources sector” he said.

After his installation, Dichoso called for an emergency meeting with regional department heads for him to be briefed on current environmental issues in Central Visayas.

Meanwhile, environmental advocate Vince Cinches told The Freeman that they are very hopeful of Dichoso’s promise of transparency at DENR.

“This is what we are waiting for… to find how to address the problem” Cinches said, adding, “we will make it sure nga non-negotiable ang among stand.”

Cinches disclosed they have filed cases against some officials of DENR on alleged questionable transactions at the Ombudsman before 2010 ended.

Sinulog crowd may hit 2M

by dr_tangarorang

CEBU CITY -- About two million people are expected to watch the Sinulog parade on January 16, prompting organizers to appeal for tight security from the police and private establishments.

With the festivities only a little over a week away, the estimated 9,000 rooms in the different hotels in the city are already booked, said Ricky Ballesteros, executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI).

Traffic rerouting for tomorrow's Sinulog launching

by By Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento

Motorists and the riding public can expect traffic congestion tomorrow afternoon when organizers launch the Sinulog Festival 2011.

Traffic authorities will implement a rerouting of vehicles which will mainly affect the Osmeña Boulevard for the opening parade that will start at 2 pm.

The parade will kick off at the Basilica del Santo Niño then to Fuente Rotunda before making a U-turn back to Osmeña Boulevard then to the Cebu City Sports Center.

Jeepneys coming from Capitol and Lahug passing Osmeña Boulevard towards Fuente Oval shall turn right to B. Rodriguez St., turn left to V. Rama Avenue, turn left to N. Bacalso Avenue, turn right to Panganiban Street and proceed to their destinations.

Those from the Carbon Area shall turn left to F. Gonzales St., turn left to Magallanes St., right turn to Borromeo St., turn left to Sanciangko St., turn right to Panganiban St., turn left to N. Bacalso St., turn right to V. Rama Avenue, and to their points of origin.

Passenger jeepneys from Banawa and Guadalupe shall pass V. Rama Avenue then turn right to Katipunan St., turn left to A. Lopez St., go straight to Tres de Abril St., turn right to Carlock St., left to Tupas St., to Magallanes Street and proceed to Carbon Area.

Those from Lahug passing Gen. Maxilom Ave. shall proceed to F. Ramos St., right to Junquera St, left turn to Colon St., left turn to D. Jakosalem St. and to their points of origin.

Jeepneys with Route No. 14D from Capitol/Ayala shall proceed to N. Escario St., turn left to Juana Osmeña St., turn right to General Maxilom Avenue, turn left to F. Ramos St. leading to Junquera then turn left to Colon St., right to Mabini St., turn right to V. Gullas St., turn right to Legaspi St., go straight to Pelaez St., turn right to P. Del Rosario St., left to D. Jakosalem St., turn left to Echavez Extension, turn right to F. Ramos St., right to Raintree Mall, then proceed to Juana Osmeña Street.

Jeepneys from Talamban passing Junquera and F. Ramos Sts. shall turn left to Sikatuna St., straight to Mabini St., turn right to V. Gullas St., turn right to Legaspi St., turn right to Colon St., left to D. Jakosalem St. and to their points of origin. Talamban jeepneys that pass through Sikatuna St. shall turn right to Colon St., turn right to D. Jakosalem St. and to their points of origin.

Jeepneys from Basak, Pardo, and Labangon passing P. Del Rosario St. shall turn right to Leon Kilat, turn right to Magallanes and back to their points of origin. Those from Inayawan; Basak, Pardo and Labangon passing Colon shall turn right to Leon Kilat, right to Magallanes and then back to their points of origin.

Jeepneys from the south passing Colon for SM, White Gold and North Bus Terminal shall turn right to Panganiban, left to Magallanes, right to Plaridel, left to Lincoln St., left to F. Gonzales towards M.C. Briones St., turn left to M.J. Cuenco Ave., turn right to V. Sotto St., left to Serging Osmeña Blvd. and to their destinations.

From SM, White Gold and North Bus Terminal, jeepneys shall turn left towards Gen. Maxilom, right to Juana Osmeña, left to J. Llorente St., left to C. Rodriguez St., right to B. Rodriguez, turn left to V. Rama, right to N. Bacalso back to their points of origin.

Jeepneys from Urgello and USC Girls High shall proceed to Leon Kilat then turn left to Colon, right to P. Lopez, left to Magallanes, right to Manalili, left to J. Leyson St. to M.C. Briones Street, left to M.J. Cuenco, right to Palma St., left to Arellano Blvd. and then to their destinations.

Vehicles from the ports, SM, and North Bus Terminal shall go to M.J. Cuenco, right turn to Magallanes towards M.C. Briones, right to D. Jakosalem, left to Magallanes, right to Leon Kilat and then to their points of origin.

Those from Mandaue and Mabolo passing Gen. Maxilom shall turn left to F. Ramos St., right to Junquera, left to Colon, right to Mabini, left to Urdaneta St., left to Lapulapu St., right to Jereza St., left to M.J. Cuenco then to their points of origin.

Jeepneys from Mabolo passing V. Gullas St. shall turn right to Legaspi, right to Colon, turn left to Mabini, right to Zulueta, left to M.J. Cuenco and to their points of origin.

Jeepneys from Mandaue passing V. Gullas shall turn right to D. Jakosalem, right to Colon, left to Mabini, right to E. Aboitiz St. (Lopez Jaena), left to M.J. Cuenco and then to their points of origin.

Motorists, drivers and other road users are advised to follow the traffic signs installed on the rerouting areas.

Mayor discourages use of babies as Niños

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is discouraging the use of young children as props during the Sinulog mardigras by dressing them as Santo Niño and waving them in the air.

Vans ready for 2,000 devotees

by By Garry B. Lao/JPM

All systems are in place and set up for the 2011 Sinulog Devotee City to ensure that transients and devotees of Sr. Sto. Niño would have a place to stay for the Sinulog Festival.

City Hall’s business tax haul P567M below appraisal

by cebuweb

THE Cebu City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) failed to collect more than 40 percent of the P1.3 billion in assessed business taxes last year.

Only 25,789 business establishments paid their dues, out of the 27,195 establishments in the city, said the business tax collection report dated Dec. 29, 2010.

COA: San Fernando ‘wasted’ P2.3M on faulty equipment

by cebuweb

SAN Fernando town bought a bulldozer worth P2.3 million but the equipment broke down less than a year after its purchase, resulting in the wastage of government funds, state auditors said.

Talisay collector faces case over ‘fake’ receipt

by cebuweb

A COLLECTOR of the Talisay City Treasurer’s Office is facing a criminal case for allegedly falsifying a copy of an official receipt for P250 a taxpayer paid nearly five years ago.

The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas indicted Rey Lumapas for malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents. He allegedly inserted a piece of cardboard under the receipt to produce blank copies for him to fill in.

The indictment came despite Lumapas’s denial of the crime.

Suspension of Cebu’s rail office ‘temporary’

by cebuweb

REP. EDUARDO Gullas (Cebu Province, first district) believes the suspension of the Cebu Railway Project Office (CRPO) is temporary and does not mean the government has given up on the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project for Cebu.

Cop faces probe after BF used her gun in suicide

by cebuweb

THE boyfriend of a rookie policewoman died after shooting himself in the head using the officer’s gun, leaving her to deal not only with her grief but also an inquiry.

PO1 Jubilee Inquig Catan, who is attending the field training program (FTP) at the Talisay City Police Station, tried to grab her 9mm pistol away from her boyfriend’s grip.

But the man, Elgin Cadilig Tio, overpowered her and shot himself.

Catan, who hails from Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, was placed under investigation.

Tio, who is from Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, was taken to Chong Hua Hospital.

Chief wants carnival ban in barangay

by cebuweb

FOLLOWING the death of a toddler inside a carnival in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, the village chief wants to ban the operation of such facilities in their barangay.

Guadalupe Barangay Captain Michael Gacasan said banning the operation of carnivals is one of the options he is considering to avoid another untoward incident.

“Sunod di na ta modawat ug mga peryahan nga mo-operate diri sa barangay. Murag i-ban nato na lang sa aron way samok (Next time we will not allow carnivals to operate here.

I think we will have to ban them for now),” he said.

No ordinance regulating pyro sale: lawyer

by cebuweb

DID the city government violate its own laws when it confiscated and destroyed P3 million worth of businessman Brian Lim’s pyrotechnics?

There is no city ordinance regulating the sale of pyrotechnics, though there are two that cover firecrackers, the businessman’s lawyer yesterday said.

“These ordinances do not allow the city to confiscate and destroy anything without a court order,” said lawyer Lelany Reso-or in an interview yesterday.

The lawyer, however, said the businessman is yet to decide whether to file a suit.

Bohol cops on heightened alert after getting raw info on Abu threat

The police in Bohol have been placed on heightened alert after they received raw information about the alleged plot by the terrorist group Abu Sayaff to kidnap foreign tourists in the province.

Negros Oriental governor dies of stomach cancer

Negros Oriental Governor Agustin Perdices succumbed to stomach cancer at the St. Luke's Global City shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday. He was 76.

Court approved Garcia plea bargain in May: documents

by By Atom Araullo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - The Sandiganbayan promulgated its resolution accepting the plea bargaining agreement with General Carlos Garcia as early as May 4, 2010, court documents provided to ABS-CBN by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) show.

This paved the way for the eventual approval of his petition for bail after pleading guilty to lesser charges of indirect bribery and facilitating money laundering.

The plea bargaining agreement filed by the Ombudsman outlines the specific properties of the Garcia's to be turned over to the government.

These include several real estate properties both in the Philippines and in the US, bank accounts, vehicles and shares of stock. The total estimated account of the properties is approximately P135.5 million.

General Garcia also manifested that his wife and sons had nothing to do the charges leveled against him, which may eventually lead to their acquittal in the respective cases they face.

Garcia is out on bail. The court is set to promulgate its decision on Major General Garcia's case on January 17, 10:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Solicitor General filed an Urgent Motion for Leave to Intervene and an Omnibus Motion-In-Intervention before the Sandiganbayan 2nd division today.

The SolGen is seeking the nullification of the Plea Bargain Agreement between Garcia and the Office of the Special Prosecutor of the Ombudsman, saying that the deal is not in accordance with law and disadvantageous to the government.

A hearing on the motions of the SolGen is set on January 10 at 9 a.m.

Palace can go to SC to oppose Garcia plea bargain


MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang can oppose the plea bargain deal between former military comptroller Carlos F. Garcia and the Office of the Ombudsman before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court spokesman said on Wednesday.

Trillanes outraged at Ombudsman for Garcia plea bargain

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday said he was outraged over how the Office of the Ombudsman handled the case of former military comptroller Maj. Gen. Carlos Garcia.

Trillanes applies for amnesty, has no regrets

by By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - Reiterating that they have no regrets about rising against the previous administration, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and other Magdalo soldiers on Wednesday formally applied for amnesty, which requires an admission of guilt.

Sen. Trillanes, 18 others file for amnesty

(UPDATE) Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and 18 other military rebel officers have formally filed for amnesty, saying that they were “men enough to admit” to violating the law over their participation in several failed destabilization efforts against the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Aside from the 19 Magdalo officers, 20 more enlisted personnel involved in uprisings against the former president filed for amnesty Wednesday.

This brings to 23 the number of officers and to 35 the number of enlisted personnel who have so far applied for the amnesty offered by President Benigno Aquino III to those charged in connection with the 2003 Oakwood mutiny, the February 2006 attempted coup and Marines stand-off and the November 2007 Manila Peninsula takeover.

Below is the updated list of officers and enlisted personnel who filed for amnesty:


1. 2LT Edgardo R. Aguilar

2. 2LT Leopoldo D. Apillanes Jr.

3. LTJG Arturo S. Pascua Jr.

4. LTJG Ceferino M. Checa III

5. 2LT Jonnel P. Sangalang

6. ENS Cesar Carmel P. Tamba

7. 2LT Jeoffrey C. Tacio

8. LTSG Antonio F. Trillanes IV

9. 2LT Norman Spencer

10. LTSG Andy G. Torrato

11. LTSG Manuel D. Cabochan

12. LT Norberto E. Santiago Jr.

13. 2LT Jeveehboy N. Macarubbo

14. LT Billy S. Pascua

15. 1LT Francisco Ashley L. Acedillo

16. 1LT Jonathan D. Costales

17. CPT Gary C. Alejano

18. CPT Segundino P. Ofriano Jr.

19. LT Eugene Louie P. Gonzales

Enlisted Personnel

1. Cpl Edgar B. Velasco

2. Cpl Joey L. Membreve

3. SSg Francisco N. Bosi Jr.

4. Cpl Bonifacio B. Barrion

5. Cpl Berting C. Cabana

6. Cpl Dennis F. Lopez

7. Cpl Danilo C. Butial

8. Cpl Leo G. Gapayao

9. Sgt Jigger S. Paculba

10. Cpl Lorenzo V. Caranzo

11. Sgt German M. Linde

12. Cpl Walter M. Manalansan

13. Cpl Roel C. Molina

14. Pfc Abraham P. Apostol

15. Sgt Ronald B. Reyes

16. Cpl Ruel S. Espenilla

17. Pvt Jocil B. Regulacion

18. Cpl Emmanuel C. Tirador

19. Cpl Filomeno J. Ramirez

20. Cpl Carlo P. Pillos

Dacer daughter seeks media blackout on Lacson manhunt


MANILA, Philippines – A daughter of slain publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer has requested media not to air live the ongoing manhunt operations against fugitive Senator  Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

Faeldon back in detention after 2-day pass

by By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines - After 2 days of provisional liberty, Marine Captain Nicanor Faeldon returned to the Marine Brig Detention Center at the headquarters of the Philippine Marines.

Melo names 3 possible successors

by By Sarah Fabunan, Business Mirror

MANILA, Philippines - Outgoing Commission on Elections Chairman Jose Melo on Tuesday named at least three people who may replace him when he steps down at the end of the month—retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing; Sixto Brillantes, the election lawyer of President Aquino in the presidential polls; and SC Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura, who is  retiring this June.

CPP demands release of local leader ahead of peace talks

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has called on the Aquino administration to respect the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and demanded the immediate release of captured New People’s Army rebel leader Tirso “Ka Bart” Alcantara before the resumption of the peace talks set next month.

ARMM launches e-jeepey

by By Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The regional government of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) launched its first e-jeep, or electric jeepney, on Wednesday.

2, including boy, gunned down in Basilan


BASILAN, Philippines – Unidentified gunmen shot dead 2 people, including a 5-year-old boy, in Basilan province on Wednesday night, an initial report said.

Pinoys in Afghanistan want deployment ban lifted


MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of Filipinos working inside US bases in Afghanistan are urging the Aquino government to lift the deployment ban to the country.

2 Britons detained in Philippines over job scam

by Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines - Two British men have been detained in the Philippines and could face long jail sentences for allegedly running a scam offering Filipinos non-existent jobs abroad, legal officials said Wednesday.

The 2 took P1.75 million (40,000 dollars) in fees from 12 Filipinos in exchange for getting them work in Britain but failed to deliver, said Kenneth Dasal, legal officer of the Manila suburb where they are being charged.

"They were caught by a police investigator posing as a job-seeker in a 'sting' operation," Dasal told AFP.

Simon John Paice and Nicholas John Vickers are in detention awaiting trial while a third British man is being sought for his alleged involvement in the case, said Dasal.

The 2 Britons have been charged with "illegal recruitment in large scale", which has a maximum penalty of life in jail, said Aida Lumugdang, an officer of the court handling the case.

They were arrested early last month and charged in court on December 21, Lumugdang said. However it was not stated how old they are or when they entered the Philippines.

Illegal recruitment refers to cases where unauthorized agencies lure Filipinos, supposedly to help them get jobs abroad, only to cheat them or exploit them.

The issue is a sensitive one in this country, where about 9 million people have gone overseas to find better jobs to support their families.

The British embassy in the Philippines said it was aware of the case and was providing the 2 with consular assistance but declined to give more details.

Many Filipinos aspire to work abroad where they can get salaries not available at home. Many of them pay huge amounts to agencies to help them find the right jobs overseas.

The money they send back home is a major source of foreign exchange and makes up more than 10% of the nation's gross domestic product, according to government data.

$1: 43.770

$1: 43.770 (P43.69)

Euro 1: 58.1626

New CAAP chief says pocket open skies will focus on secondary routes

by By Recto L. Mercene, Business Mirror

MANILA, Philippines - Newly installed Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) head Ramon Gutierrez said pocket open- skies policy mandated by Malacañang would focus on the secondary routes, giving airlines the capability to offer better service in an open competition among carriers.

Cheap air fares hike travelers to RP by 15%


MANILA, Philippines - Cheap air fares have encouraged more people to travel, with international passenger traffic flow in the country rising by 15.3% from January to September last year.

Earthquake injures 16 people in southern Iran

by Reuters

TEHRAN, Iran - Sixteen people were injured when a 5.3-magnitude earthquake jolted southern Iran on Wednesday, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported.

Son of Iran shah kills himself in US

by Reuters

BOSTON – Prince Alireza Pahlavi, younger son of the late Shah of Iran, committed suicide on Tuesday in Boston, according to his brother.

Roach to Pacquiao: Don’t take Shane lightly

by By Dennis Gasgonia,

MANILA, Philippines – The biggest mistake Manny Pacquiao can commit against “Sugar” Shane Mosley is to underestimate the former world champion.

Filipino shares lead in Vietnam chess tourney


MANILA, Philippines - Filipino Grandmaster (GM) John Paul Gomez turned back Woman International Master (WIM) Nguyen Thi Mai Hung of Vietnam to create a two-way tie for first in the 3rd round of the 2011 HD Bank Cup Open chess championship at the five-star Rex Hotel sa Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

B-Meg Derby Ace ties series with Talk N Text, 1-1

Defending champion BMeg Derby Ace held on to a pulsating 88-87 victory over Talk N Text to knot the series at 1-1 Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum.

Alex The Great: Cabagnot plays hero anew in SMB's win over Ginebra

San Miguel Beer guard Alex Cabagnot is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best closers in the Philippine Basketball Association. Already twice a hero in similar game-winning fashion, the Fil-Am guard was at it again Wednesday night, scoring the basket that mattered most in the Beermen's thrilling 86-84 win over the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.

Former Pasig mayor rushed to hospital from PBA game


MANILA, Philippines – Former Pasig City Mayor Mario Raymundo was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday night after he fell ill while watching a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) game at the Araneta Coliseum.

Exclusive: Tourists having sex on Boracay seashore caught on cam

Mala-paraiso ang ganda ng Boracay pero noong Bagong Taon, ibang mukha ng isla ang nakunan ng aming kamera. Ang kagulat-gulat na eksena kung saan may turistang nagtatalik sa beach.

Anne Curtis planning to get married?


MANILA, Philippines – Young actress and television host Anne Curtis has shrugged off predictions saying she and her non-showbiz boyfriend Erwan Heussaff plan to get married this year.

Rayver proud of relationship with Cristine


MANILA, Philippines – After actor Rayver Cruz admitted that he and actress Cristine Reyes are officially together, they are now open in discussing their relationship in public.

Ai-Ai denies ties with Kris reason behind her MMFF win

by by Reyma Buan-Deveza,

MANILA, Philippines - Concert Queen Ai-Ai delas Alas maintained on Tuesday that presidential sister and best friend Kris Aquino had nothing to do with her winning the best actress award at the 36th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

Janet Jackson coming to Manila: report


MANILA, Philippines – Janet Jackson is coming to the Philippines this year. The Philippine Star reported that Jackson will kick off her world tour, dubbed “Number Ones – Up Close and Personal World Tour,” in Asia via a concert at the PICC Plenary Hall on February 4.

Filipinos no longer text ‘addicts’

by By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror

MANILA, Philippines - Text messaging is no longer the most popular means of conveying holiday greetings. Instead of sending their Christmas and New Year greetings via SMS or short message service during the recent holidays, the cellular subscribers preferred to call and/or post their greetings in various social networking sites.

How to detox at home after the holidays


MANILA, Philippines - Feel bloated after eating, drinking, and partying too much in 2010? Try these easy-to-make detoxifying juices for a healthier you in 2011.

And who says detoxification can’t be done at home?

On ABS-CBN’s "Umagang Kay Ganda" on Tuesday, alternative medicine expert Dr. Harris Acero shared cleansing regimens that can easily be done at home using ingredients readily available, to remove Christmas toxins and at the same time, start one off on a healthy habit this new year.

Acero guarantees that saluyot, garlic, and okra juices are safe and revitalizing, and can flush out all toxins and dead cells in the body.

“Saluyot juice is good for fatty liver, beer belly, digestion and colon cleansing,” Acero said.

Fresh saluyot leaves are good for colon cleansing.


The garlic juice, on the other hand, can remove excess cholesterol in the body, and lower the risks of heart attack and stroke.

“Garlic contains allicin, a powerful, antibiotic compound that contains amino acid. It is also rich in beta carotene, iron, calcium and vitamin C,” he added.

Although okra isn't very popular because of its slimy texture, the vegetable can help eliminate risks of gallstones, constipation, and colon cancer, and lower blood sugar, said Acero.

He also reminded the public to watch out for the following symptoms of gallstones and fatty liver. “Once you feel frequent bloatedness, stomachache, discomfort on the left side and at the back, those are the signs that you have to detoxify right away,” he said.

“Start your new year right by detoxifying for a healthier 2011," Acero added. -- Nikki delos Santos,


Okra juice can help lower blood sugar.



1 cup fresh saluyot leaves

1 cup water

3 pcs. calamansi

1 tbsp. honey


1.        Place saluyot leaves in a blender.

2.        Pour in water. (Note: The amount of saluyot leaves and water must always be 1:1.)

3.        Squeeze calamansi and add to the mixture. Pour in honey.

4. "Pulse" blend until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Note: Use a straw in sipping saluyot juice. Drink 1 cup a day for two weeks.



garlic (preferably Ilocos garlic due to its concentration)

10 pcs. calamansi

1 tbsp. honey


1.        Crush garlic cloves and squeeze juices out. Take out garlic cloves.

2.        Squeeze calamansi juice into the garlic juice.

3.        Pour in honey.

4.        Set aside and leave overnight

Note: Garlic juice is acidic, so it must rest overnight to allow its natural juices to neutralize.





1 cup water


1.        Slice okra diagonally into 1-inch pieces.

2. Soak okra pieces in water overnight.

3. Pour okra juice into a cup with some okra slices and serve.

Watch grandpa's gait for longevity clues: study

by Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON - If you want to know how long grandpa is going to live, check his pace of walking.

A report appearing in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association found a strong correlation between walking speed and expected survival rates for persons over 65.

The analysis from nine studies between 1986 and 2000 showed faster walking speed among older adults was associated with increased length of survival.

The average gait speed of the 34,485 participants was 0.92 meters (three feet) per second. But analyzing results over periods from six to 21 years, the University of Pittsburgh researchers found the faster ones lived longer.

"Walking requires energy, movement control, and support and places demands on multiple organ systems, including the heart, lungs, circulatory, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems," the researchers wrote. "Slowing gait may reflect both damaged systems and a high energy cost of walking."

All studies had participants walk at their usual pace and from a standing start. The walk distance varied from eight feet (2.4 meters) to six meters (19 feet).

"Predicted years of remaining life for each sex and age increased as gait speed increased," the researchers said.

"Gait speeds of 1.0 meter (3.3 feet) per second or higher consistently demonstrated survival that was longer than expected by age and sex alone. In this older adult population the relationship of gait speed with remaining years of life was consistent across age groups."

The researchers found that gait speed was associated with differences in the probability of survival at all ages in both sexes, but was especially notable after age 75.

"The data provided herein are intended to aid clinicians, investigators, and health system planners who seek simple indicators of health and survival in older adults," said researchers headed by Pittsburgh's Stephanie Studenski.

"Gait speed has potential to be implemented in practice, using a stop watch and a four-meter (13 feet) course.... Gait speed may be a simple and accessible indicator of the health of the older person."

In an editorial accompanying the report, Matteo Cesari of the Universita Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, said that because no evidence definitively supports the hypothesis that gait speed improvements are associated with better health-related outcomes, gait speed should not be considered as a primary target for interventions at present.

"It represents a global marker of health status, and an optimal secondary and complementary outcome to support research findings, clinical decisions, or both aimed at modifying more pragmatic end points," he wrote.

"Future research will be needed to determine whether gait speed has the potential to change the way in which a patient is defined as geriatric."

Two winners of $350-M US 'Mega Millions' lottery

WASHINGTON—Two tickets matched all six numbers in the huge Mega Millions US lottery, and will split the estimated $355-million jackpot, lottery officials said Wednesday.

Parrot makes 'smart' car radio for Internet Age

French mobile technology firm Parrot on Tuesday showed off a "smart" car radio that can find cheap fuel, free parking, and speed traps while taking music requests and placing phone calls.

The Asteroid in-dash receiver will be available in Europe by the end of March and the company is working to get it to the United States by the middle of this year, according to project manager Hocine Belkhoudja.

Parrot is in Las Vegas to show off Asteroid at a major Consumer Electronics show that officially opens on Thursday.

Asteroid has USB ports for MP3 players, GPS devices, and the types of 3G network wireless Internet service keys that people use for laptop computers.

The 3G keys link the radios to the Web, enabling applications to access online services or data and allowing motorists to use the radio to make hands-free telephone calls, according to Belkhoudja.

"You can listen to all the radio in the world on the Web," he said. "You can search for coffee or restaurants nearby, gas stations with the lowest prices or free parking."

The radios can also provide maps and driving routes.

Parrot tailored a version of open-source Android mobile operating software for Asteroid to handle a host of software applications.

Music features on the radios include taking spoken requests for specific songs or artists, with the device scouring connected devices and the Internet for tunes.

Parrot did not reveal the price it would charge, but Belkhoudja promised it would be "very impressive."

Parrot also demonstrated a touch-screen, dash-mounted version of Asteroid that it is working on as a "next step" but would not discuss when it might come to market.


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