Verzosa pushes nat’l forum against jueteng

>> Monday, May 31, 2010

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY – Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa has pushed for a national forum among government and nongovernment stakeholders to address gambling like jueteng following criticisms against the PNP for failure to abate the illegal activities.

Versoza, in a multi-sectoral forum here last week on the PNP’s integrated transformation program for 2030, proposed that local governments, religious and other concerned sectors work together and identify causes of gambling and formulate long-term solutions to address illegal gambling nationwide.

“We have done our part, especially in arresting and charging those responsible in the operation of illegal gambling nationwide,” he said. “We would like to solicit the support of stakeholders in curbing the proliferation of gambling in their respective places by participating in identifying the root causes of the existence of gambling and coming out with possible solutions.”

Verzosa said the PNP had never been remiss in its campaign against illegal gambling activities nationwide like jueteng contrary to perception of disgruntled sectors that some PNP members have become protectors of gambling lords.

During the forum, Versoza said the problem with Filipino society is that law enforcers have been constant victims of finger pointing regarding campaign against illegal forms of gambling, particularly jueteng, which has been identified as the poor man’s game.

Bishop Carlito Cenzon of the Diocese of Baguio rallied the people to be on guard on the existence of gambling in their respective communities and participate by disciplining themselves by not placing bets on gambling.

He said the effort to curb the evils of society should not be left to the law enforcers but it should be dealt with accordingly considering that the adults are to be blamed for the current problems of the Filipino people since they keep inventing things that affect the morals of the people.

Cenzon said the Church has been doing its part in educating the people on the proper values but it seems the evils of society continuously prevail, thus, the need to involve everybody in an effort to reform the society.


Solon’s aide hacked dead in Tabuk market

TABUK CITY, Kalinga — An aide of incumbent Rep. Manuel S. Agyao who heads an anti-robbery task force at an agricultural market, here, was killed when two men ganged up on him – one of them hacking him in the head with a bolo.

Senior Supt. Virgilio Laya, Kalinga police chief, said the attack on Luis A. Siyao, 57, of Barangay Nambaran, here, happened earlier this week at a carabao market near his residence.

Laya said Siyao was engaged in a fight with an unidentified man who tried to wrest control of his gun when a second man came from behind him and hacked him in the head with a bolo.

During the scuffle, Siyao’s firearm fired twice hitting a certain Ophelia Emang, 18, in the thigh.

Witnesses told probers the man who hacked Siyao alighted from a motorcycle parked nearby and after the attack, both assailants made their getaway on board the same motorcycle.
Local residents said Siyao caught the ire of some shady characters in Nambaran because of his leading a task force against cattle-rustlers and robberies at the market.

Laya said manhunt operations are now under way after police got the description of the suspects.


4 men charged with arson for burning PCOS machine

BONTOC, Mountain Province– Police authorities here revealed Monday arson charges were filed against four men allegedly responsible for burning a precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine and other election paraphernalia in Barangay Apalis, Bonot, Paracelis, a day after the elections.

Chief Supt. Villamor A. Bumanglag, Cordillera Region police director identified the accused as Ramos Dangasen, Jose Dakiwag, Nestor Dangangao and Mario Adawe, all of legal age and residents of Sitio
Pilak, Bonot.

Police investigation showed before the burning of the PCOS machine and election paraphernalia, the board of election inspectors and PCOS technician were invited for breakfast by one of the residents living near the Apalis Elementary School leaving a certain SPO1 Anselmo Gannisi and other civilians to guard the machine.

After about half an hour, the BEI members and the PCOS technician returned to the canvassing center and told the police officer to take his meal while waiting for the vehicle scheduled to transport the device and election paraphernalia to the municipal board of canvassers.

But Gannisi was reported as saying to the BEI members and the PCOS technician some men got the PCOS machine.

Residents said Gannisi should be charged for negligence or complicity in the burning of the machine if he could not tell exactly what happened after this was allegedly taken by the suspects.

Apalis, with a voting population of 148 could have had a significant implication in the congressional race of the province.

A report from Mountain Province police director Supt. Fortunato Albas earlier said “efforts are being exerted to validate intelligence reports disclosing that Clarence Dalog, one of the sons of Gov. Maximo Dalog (now congressman-elect) was implicated in the burning of the PCOS machine.”

Albas said “in the absence of incriminating pieces of evidence which could pinpoint the real orchestrator of the crime, it is not farfetched that greed for political power is the most probable motive behind the crime. In as much as the political contest is very close for the contending parties, one resorts to violence in order to ensure his success no matter how wicked the results may impose on the part of the victims.” – With a report from Dexter A. See


4 buried alive in landslide survive

BAGUIO CITY– Two sleeping couples were buried alive in their house following a huge landslide early Thursday morning but survived.

The victims after being unearthed said before the incident, continuous rains for three days aturated the soil along the slope where their house stood along Marcos Highway here. Police said spouses Ricardo and Maricel Villanueva and Rodolfo and Lorma Butarde were dug out from the mud less than an hour after the landslide at around 3:45 a.m. They were brought to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center for treatment. The saturated soil from where the two-storey chalet-type residential house gave in and moved it towards the cliff below it.

The landslide was the first incident here as the wet season ushers in.


Bangued police chief sacked over seized guns

BANGUED, Abra — The police chief of this capital town was relieved from his post for failing to declare two high-powered firearms seized at a checkpoint last May 15.

Chief Insp. Edward Aquintey is now being investigated by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Regional Investigation and Detective Management of the Cordillera police for his “lapse of judgment” which led to the filing of a lighter offense against suspect Jumel Dumalen, 38.

Chief Supt. Villamor Bumanglag, Cordillera police director, appointed Chief Insp. Julio Lizardo as officer-in-charge of the Bangued police station.

Elements of the 24th Special Action Company of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police were manning a checkpoint along the national road in Barangay Calaba, Bangued town last May 15 when they flagged down a Ford Ranger pick-up bearing a commemorative license plate with the words “Mayor” and “NIC.”

A plain view inspection of the vehicle showed the presence of two high-powered firearms and a magazine, according to policemen manning the checkpoint.

Aquintey was instructed to proceed to the area by Senior Supt. Joseph Adnol, OIC of the Abra police, to resolve a deadlock after the vehicle’s occupants locked themselves inside.

In his report, Aquintey said incoming Abra Rep. Joy Bernos and her legal counsel, lawyer Liwliwa Sunyata Gonzales Alzate, surrendered to him a magazine loaded with 10 live bullets.

It was not known whether Bernos was aboard the Ford Ranger.

The Bangued police filed illegal possession of ammunition charges against Dumalen, one of the vehicle’s occupants, who was ordered released by Judge Redentor Valera of the Bangued municipal trial court, after posting bail.

However, PO1s Theodore de Guzman and Jerwin Calpito, both of the SAF, submitted counter-affidavits claiming that aside from the magazine, an M-14 Armalite rifle and an M-16 baby Armalite, both found in Dumalen’s vehicle, were surrendered after negotiations.

Bumanglag said SAF personnel turned over the high-powered firearms to Adnol, who immediately placed them under the custody of the supply section of the Abra police.

When Adnol confronted Aquintey why he did not include the high-powered firearms in the filing of charges against Dumalen, Aquintey reportedly said that he was “confused” and instead decided to turn the Armalite rifles over to the SAF personnel for safekeeping.


Landslide victims to GMA: Where is promised money for ‘killer mountain’ rehab?

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Residents and local officials in this town reiterated their long standing appeal to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Department of Public Works and Highways to release funds to rehabilitate the “killer mountain” here in Little Kibungan, Puguis to prevent another incident that could result to loss of lives and damage to properties during the rainy season.

During the onslaught of Typhoon Pepeng last year, 175 people were killed, hundreds of others were wounded and multi-million worth of public and private properties were destroyed when a huge portion of a mountain fronting Little Kibungan village suddenly collapsed and buried nearly 50 houses in the area.

Despite the earlier commitment of the President to immediately rehabilitate the dangerous mountain slope because of reported cracks on several portions, the alarmed residents claimed no significant works were done in the place except for the clearing of the landslides that blocked the smooth flow of traffic along the Pico-Lamtang road.

According to the remaining residents in Little Kibungan, the remaining portion of the “killer mountain” remains a threat to the hundreds of people living near it, thus, the need for concerned government agencies to introduce mitigating measures in order to prevent the lose soil from being washed down by the upcoming strong rains and affect the people and their properties.

However, engineer Alexander Castaneda, DPWH assistant regional director, said the request for funding was submitted to their central office right after the emergency meeting called by the President in October, a few days after the onslaught of the typhoon but it seems the same request was probably lost in transit.

He said the agency, with local officials, will reiterate their previous request so the President and the DPWH could release at least P30 million for projects in the area to prevent future incidents that could result to loss of lives and damage to properties.

Based on plans, Castaneda said there is need to construct a breast wall with a base of 3 to four meters and at least 80 meters x 60 meters to serve as a catchment basin for the debris that will fall from the mountain slope coupled with the benching or terracing of the area to reduce the risk posed by the expected occurrence of soil erosion in the coming months.

He added widening activities will also be done in the area to ensure safety of motorists travelling along the road, especially during the rainy season when there is threat of landslides considering loose soil composition in the area.

Castaneda said implementation of mitigating works in the Little Kibungan area is considered a priority among other calamity projects in the region.

He said he could not understand why funding for the project was never released despite numerous releases of calamity funds for other major projects.

Little Kibungan is located along the Pico-Lamtang road and is bounded by geologically hazardous barren mountains.


‘Blessings of government higher ups’ probed Pangasinan drug den raided; 12 arrested

DAGUPAN CITY – Government forces raided a hideout of dreaded drug lords and criminals in a compound here arresting 12 suspected drug syndicate members and confiscating shabu, alleged drug money, guns and drug chemicals and paraphernalia.

Raiders from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, police, Philippine Navy and Philippine Army raided the “seriously drug affected Muslim compound” in Bonuan Gueset on May 21 implementing eight separate search warrants in the houses of syndicate members.

Emely Fama, spokesperson of the PDEA-Cordillera said government agents seized 48 sachets of shabu, about 20 grams valued at P250,000; two Cal. 38 caliber revolvers, and one Cal.45 pistol with two magazines and 17 bullets; drug money worth P55,727.25; numerous and Leaders of the Muslim community in the area denied those arrested were involved in drugs or that their neighborhood hosted a mini-shabu laboratory.

One of the Muslim elders said shabu circulating in the city had come from Manila and Cavite.

But Openia said his operatives had monitored the last four months and found out that drugs proliferating in this city came from Tondaligan and that the suspects were responsible for making and trafficking them.

He also said that the PDEA has been threatened with lawsuits by a Muslim association.

The PDEA is filing cases for violation of Section 11 (possession of dangerous drugs), Section 12 (possession of equipment, instrument, apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs), Section 6 (maintenance of a drug den, dive or resort) and Section 7 (employees and visitors of a drug den, dive or resort), all of Republic Act (RA) 9165 (The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002); and violation of RA 8294 (illegal possession of firearm) against the suspects.

Fama said an additional case for violation of Section 15 (use of dangerous drugs) of RA 9165 shall be filed against them if their tests yield positive of shabu use.


Drunk driver crashes bus in Tuba; 14 cheat death

TUBA, Benguet – Police are set to file charges against a drunken driver who crashed a Manila-bound bus onto a mountain slope in Barangay Poyopoy here, late afternoon May 16.

Fourteen passengers of the passenger bus cheated death but Chief Supt. Villamor Bumanglag, Cordillera Region police director ordered charges filed against bus driver Mahemias Dela Rosa Paulino, 42, married and native of Kapangan, Benguet.

Probers said Paulino was reeking of liquor when questioned over the accident.

He is now locked up in the Tuba Municipal Jail, awaiting charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple injuries, said Bumanglag.

Police investigation showed the bus was traversing Marcos Highway, here, bound to Metro Manila when the driver lost control of the vehicle while engaging a sharp curve and went in the direction of a cliff.

A last-minute maneuver prevented the bus from falling into the ravine but it crashed on the mountain slope, resulting to the injury of 14 passengers.

The victims were rescued by local residents and taken to the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center for medical treatment.

One of them remained in the hospital May 23due to serious injuries.

Bumanglag appealed to motorists traveling along the region’s mountainside roads never to drink before sitting behind the wheel. – Dexter A. See


Alleged private armed group chief slain in NE

BONGABON, Nueva Ecija -- The suspected leader of a private armed group operating in Nueva Ecija was killed here in an ambush by a group of unidentified armed men, police said.

Senior Supt. Ricardo Marquez, provincial police director, identified the slain PAG leader as Virgilio Alejo, 47, suspected leader of the dreaded “Kamagong Group” involved in gangland-style killings.

Marquez said Alejo was accompanied by some friends near his house when four masked heavily armed men alighted from a Toyota Corolla car (PTB-736) and fired at him around 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Chief Insp. Arnel Santiago, Bongabon police chief, said Alejo ran away to the edge of the Pampanga River in Barangay Vega when the gunmen chased and shot him several times with M-16 Armalite rifles.

Five empty shells were recovered by the police at the crime scene.

The victim has outstanding warrants of arrest for murder and rebellion.

The “Kamagong Group” was identified in January by the Philippine National Police as one of three PAGs it was seeking to dismantle as it was reportedly out to sow terrorism and chaos in the elections.

Another PAG was “Alakdan.”

These private armed groups who are engaged in armed robbery and hired guns activities, are operating in the first and second congressional districts and in the boundaries of the third and fourth congressional districts.

Marquez said some lie low during normal times but surface during the election season reportedly at the behest of unscrupulous politicians.

“When it is not election time, they don’t show themselves,” he said.

Marquez said they have strictly monitored the movements of these PAGs during the recent polls and found that they were no longer there during the entire campaign period.

Police have not yet established if the activities of the Kamagong Group is tied to the operations of two suspected hired guns who were arrested last week in Llanera town.

The two – Dennis Vilelia and Rafael Merez – were arrested after an aborted assassination attempt on a sales agent of a bottling company in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.


Loakan Airport opened

BAGUIO CITY – Loakan Airport was reopened here with the inauguration of “ Sky Pasada” on May 2 wherein the first plane landed coming from Cauayan, Isabela.

Airport authorities said from now on, the aircraft model that would be used on the runway would be the 19-seater Let UVP40.

The aircraft is safe and ideal for rural flying and short runways and unprepared runways.

“Sky Pasada” will operate three times a week initially from Baguio to Cauayan and Baguio to Tugegarao vice versa.

Later, trips from Baguio to Basco Batanes, Manila, Laoag City and Boracay will soon be opened
Airport manager Mary Sulin Sagorsor said the Philippine National Police will secure the airport. – Glaiza Ana de los Reyes


Tuba trash site set as tourist attraction

TUBA, Benguet – The municipal government here is set to build a trash site here which would be promoted as a tourist attraction.

Local officials have intensified information drive among residents of Barangay Taloy Sur here along Marcos Highway on benefits of hosting an engineered sanitary landfill over a 2.3-hectare area which was purchased from a private individual.

The town’s plan to construct its own engineered sanitary landfill in the area will come way ahead of Baguio City, a highly urbanized city which is having serious problems on establishment of its own trash facility.

Aside from being an engineered sanitary landfill site, municipal officials claimed the purchased property will be converted into an ecotourism area as tourist attraction for the thousands of motorists plying Marcos Highway daily.

Initially, the local government allocated P2 million for the purchase of the lot and for the conduct of initial development works while looking for a counterpart fund from the provincial government of Benguet to complete the noble solid waste management project.

Tuba will be the second town in this vegetable-producing province to put up its own engineered sanitary landfill next to the capital town of La Trinidad.

Because of the increasing garbage in the different villages caused by the rapid rise in population, local officials urged their constituents to effectively segregate garbage at source and properly dump the same in their waste disposal sites in order to prevent solid waste management problems in the future.

According to them, segregation of garbage at sources will help reduce the solid waste by a substantial volume and will prevent the occurrence of problems in the future.

Based on studies conducted by technical personnel from the local government and concerned national government agencies, the 2.3-hectare purchased property is a suitable site to put up the town’s sanitary landfill because of its proximity to the highway and far distant from residential communities.

The local government is trying its best to comply with provisions of Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act to prevent the local officials from being administratively and criminally charged by the National Solid Waste Commission.— Dexter A. See


Chico River getting more polluted; folk downstream gripe

By Rose B. Budas

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The mighty Chico River which passes here down to Kalinga is getting more polluted by trash from upstream Mountain Province towns.

Downstream, Kalinga folks are complaining about garbage flowing down the Chico to the Cagayan River, saying pollution affected their water from the river for domestic, irrigation and fishing purposes.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office said this is a major problem, reason why the issue was raised by the provincial government of Kalinga through the Regional Development Council which urged a master plan for the Chico to avert its environmental degradation.

A water quality improvement program had been proposed through reduction of waste and implementation of laws.

Projects and activities under this program would include fisheries development.

Sources of river pollutants reportedly come from converted forest land areas converted as vegetable gardens which use pesticides.

During the rainy season everything goes down to the river like residue from small scale mining.

Likewise, it was observed that most pollutants are coming from Mt. Province due to proximity of communities along the river channel.

These were bared during provincial and municipal consultations in the two provinces.


Singapore man shot dead in Vigan

By Freddie Lazaro

CAMP PRESIDENT QUIRINO, Bantay, Ilocos Sur – A Singaporean man was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman May 22 inside a business establishment in Barangay 1, Vigan City, this province.

Chief Insp. Maximo Taclas, Vigan deputy police chief, said Cyrill Gomez, a retired Singaporean police officer-turned-businessman, was attacked at 9 a.m. while paying his house bills.

It was learned that Gomez was married to a Filipina and residing in Barangay San Julian Sur in the city.


180 gun ban violators fall

By Jennelyn Mondejar

PANGASINAN – A total of 180 gun ban violators were recently arrested in Region 1, the top regional police official reported Thursday.

Regional Director Constante Azares broke down the number of violations per province as follows: said Pangsinan had 84; La Union, 43; Ilocos Sur, 28; and Ilocos Norte, 25.

Seized from them were explosives, firearms and replicas of guns, broken down as follows: 138 in Pangasinan; 21 in La Union; 20 in Ilocos Sur and 27 in Ilocos Norte.


P5.2 billion Cordillera road projects 87 percent complete

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Cordillera office of the Department of Public Works and Highways here revealed the P5.2 billion State of the Nation Address (SONA) projects of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the region are 87 percent complete to boost economic development in the countryside.

Engineer Alexander Castaneda, DPWH assistant regional director, saidthe Mount Data to Bontoc section of the Halsema highway is around 98.96 percent complete with only 370 meters out of the 35 km that remains unpaved while the Bontoc to Banaue section, which is 97 percent completed, has 1.12 km that remains unconcreted.

On the other hand, The Bontoc to Tingayan boundary of the Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegrao road is approximately 72.10 percent completed with at least 8 kilometers still unpaved while the Tingayan boundary to Tabuk City, Kalinga, which is 80 percent completed, has still 13 kilometers out of the 68 kilometers that are not yet concreted.

According to engineer Nestor Nicholas, who recently inspected the projects, the main problem of the contractors is the refusal of land owners in the affected portions of the road to allow portions of their properties to be traversed by the road rehabilitation works so that widening and concreting will smoothly push through.

Despite efforts of government agencies and local officials to negotiate with the land claimants, they continue to refuse offers for just compensation for this properties s ell s improved living condition of their fellow residents due to improved roads to their places.

By the end of June, Castaneda is confident that bulk of the projects will be completed so that the project implementors and concerned agencies could concentrate in convincing the people in the controversial areas to allow their properties to b traversed by the roadlines.

In 2006, President Arroyo, through the representation of the Regional Development Council in the Cordillera and duly elected local officials, earmarked P5.2 billion which was staggeredly released over the past three years for the rehabilitation of the remaining two phases of the Halsema highway and the whole stretch of the Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegarao road.

Out of the said amount, P1.9 billion was used up for the rehabilitation of phases two and three of the Halsema highway while P3.3 billion was programmed for the rehabilitation of the Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegaroa road.

Castaneda said the unpaved sections of the different roadlines are hose with road-right-of-way problems that are now being settled by technical people but the hardheadedness of some to realize the benefits of improved roads seems to prevail over their desire to help in bringing development to their respective places.


30 Abra PAG members nabbed; 25 guns seized

ByDexter A. See

BANGUED, Abra – Thirty members of four notorious private armed groups (PAGs) being maintained by influential politicians in this province were arrested by combined law enforcers and military in police operations conducted in relation to the May polls.

Elements of the Task Force Abra, police and military elite forces responsible for security operations in the province confiscated 25 high and low-powered firearms from the arrested PAG members.

Senior Supt. Elmer Soria, deputy regional director for operations of the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera and Task Force Abra head, said the four PAGs are being maintained by a losing congressional candidate, a losing mayoralty candidate in a town and two re-elected mayors in the different parts of the province.

According to Soria, the police and military were able to arrest 14 private armies of the losing congressional candidate and confiscated 9 high and low-powered firearms while 7 PAG members of the losing mayoralty candidate were nabbed with 11 high and low-powered firearms.

On the other hand, 6 private armies of a reelected mayor near this capital town were arrested with 3 firearms confiscated while another re-elected mayor in a remote town lost 3 of his PAG members to the authorities with 2 firearms.

Chief Supt. Villamor Bumanglag, regional police director, said the recently-concluded first-automated elections was the most peaceful in the province because the security personnel were able to hold down election-related violence and incidents to two with one death.

The said incidents were the ambush of Bangued Mayor-elect Ryan Luna where four of his supporters were wounded and the alleged mauling and shooting to death of his driver, Mario Acena, which was perpetrated by incumbent Mayor Dominique Valera.

Based on Task Force Abra records, there were 33 election related incidents with 17 deaths in the May 2004 synchronized national elections while there were 19 election-related incidents and 28 deaths in the May 2007 local elections, all recorded in the different parts of the province.


Public warned on fake PFD members

By Glaiza Ana de los Reyes

BAGUIO CITY -- The Philippine Federation of the Deaf has warned constituents of this city, La Union and Pangasinan who pretend as PFD members and victimize people in these areas.

Marites Estiller Corpuz, president of PFD, in as interview said the image of the organization had been affected by these people who use fake documents and even using the PFD to solicit funds.

Arthur Adrena, SPED teacher said they has tried to stop the fake members from plying their illegal trade.

Corpuz said this modus operandi could be stopped if unemployed and disabled persons are given work .

Anna Dione, Labor and Emplyment regional director said Republic Act 7277 mandates companies should give opportunity to disabled persons.

A livelihood program named Magna Carta for disabled persons will soon be started, she said.


Hired guns charge P20,000 per victim

>> Sunday, May 30, 2010

ANGELES CITY– Life in Central Luzon costs a mere P20,000, snuffed out with a down payment of P1,000.

This was the revelation of members of hired guns after they were pinned down by the police in a shootout recently in Barangay Mabini in Llanera, Nueva Ecija following their attempt to carry out another killing mission.

In a report to Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Arturo Cacdac, Nueva Ecija police chief Senior Supt. Ricardo Marquez said the suspects Dennis Vilelia, 30, married and a vendor residing in Barangay Puting Tubing in Gapan, and Rafael Merez, 25, single and jobless, resident of Barangay San Juan in Aliaga, both in Nueva Ecija, are members of hired guns.

During questioning by the police, Vilelia and Merez admitted they were hired by one Renato Merez to kill Bernardo Martin, 51, a sales agent of a bottling company and a resident of Barangay San Ricardo in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.

The suspects, riding in tandem on a Euro motorcycle (5331-CU), shot but failed to kill Martin in Barangay Mabini in Llanera.

The alerted Llanera police, led by SPO2 Edilberto Cruz, and soldiers from the Army’s 81st infantry battalion immediately pursued the suspects who engaged the cops in a firefight.

The suspects were arrested after Merez sustained a gunshot wound in his arm.

The suspects said the mastermind who hired them to kill Martin provided them with the Cal. 45 pistol with three loaded magazines and the motorcycle.

They also received from him a down payment of P1,000, under the arrangement that another P19,000 would be given them once they accomplish their mission.

The amount is reportedly the going rate of professional killers in the region, police sources said.

The suspects, however, did not disclose further arrangements in case their target survived, as in the case of Martin who was reported to be recuperating at the Premiere Hospital in Cabanatuan City.

Marquez, in his report to Cacdac, cited the suspects as claiming they were hired to kill Martin whom the mastermind claimed to be having an affair with his wife.


Japanese catches wave, goes missing

By Freddie Lazaro

SAN JUAN, La Union – Hopes dimmed for a Japanese tourist who went missing while swimming at a beach resort Barangay Urbiztondo, here night of May 23 even as search-and-rescue operations widened last week.

Chief Inspector Marlon Peste, local police chief, said there was no sign of 54-year-old Nobory Herai, a native of Okayama City, Okayama, Japan, who was vacationing in this town with his friend and countryman Takashi Ouchi, 40.

A separate report referred to the victim’s surname as “Hitai.”

Based on Ouchi’s statement, Peste said the two Japanese tourists arrived here afternoon of May 23 from Manila.

They immediately went swimming late in the afternoon until around 7:30 p.m. when Ouchi left Herai in the water to have a cigarette at the resort’s parking lot.

Peste said that when Ouchi returned to the beach to check on his friend, Herai was already missing, prompting him to alert resort staff.

The Philippine Coast Guard joined the search with a team of divers scouring the coastal area for Herai but to no avail as of press time Tuesday afternoon.

The beaches of La Union are known as a surfer’s haven for big waves that crash to shore.


Abra mayor seeks bail on murder case

BANGUED, Abra -- Mayor Dominic Valera of this capital town has asked a Quezon City court to allow him to post bail, saying the murder case against him is still under preliminary investigation at the Department of Justice.

“He needs to be released from police custody in order to affect a proper turnover of his administrative duties to the incoming mayor,” Valera’s lawyer, Raymund Fortun, said in a petition filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 219,

Fortun said the mayor is not a flight risk and is required by law to serve the remainder of his term until June 30.

He is under police custody but confined at the St. Luke’s Medical Center (SLMC) in Quezon City.

Valera has been tagged in the killing of Mario Acena, supporter of his rival Ryan Luna, on April 29 in Barangay Cosili West, Bangued.

Provincial police arrested him hours after the killing along with his security escort, SPO 2 Joseph Barreras.

He was brought to the SLMC due to hypertension.

Valera said because of the negative results of the paraffin and ballistics tests, he is “highly confident” the case against him and Barreras will be dismissed.


Ilocos mayor, son offer peace; bloodshed averted

By Mar T Supnad

SANTIAGO, Ilocos Sur- The father and son tandem who won this town’s top two elective posts offered Wednesday reconciliation to their opponents after groups of two losing mayoral candidates swooped down at the municipal hall, then stoned the Commission on Elections office during counting of ballots.

“We behaved and preferred not to confront the supporters of our two mayoral opponents to avoid clashes and bloodshed since elections had been finished and the people have spoken,” said vice mayor-elect Josefino Miranda who is the outgoing mayor.

His son Michael will assume his former post as mayor-elect.

“Our men during that night wanted also to swoop down at the municipal hall to confront the supporters of Redentor Cardenas and Joselito Miranda, Sr. who ran berserk and had the office of the Comelec stoned. But I decided not to move since we have won, anyway,” said the vice-mayor elect.

Josefino’s son mayor-elect Michael garnered 5,048 votes trailed by Cardenas who got 2,563 followed by Joselito Sr. who garnered 1,780 votes.

In the vice mayoral race, Josefino got 5,557 votes followed by Joselito Miranda Jr., who got 2,826.

Santos Sabado landed third who got 787 votes.

Cardenas and Joselito Sr. accused Comelec officials here of being biased by giving favors allegedly to Josefino and his son Michael.

Mayor-elect Miranda offered peace and reconciliation to his opponents, saying the election had been finished and they better accept the will of the majority of Santiago folks.

“When I lost before with only 300 votes when I first ran for mayor, I did not react and accepted my fate. But now, when we won in landslide victory, they cannot accept it; they should be sport enough in the game of politics,” the vice mayor-elect said.


International watchdog’s findings, recommendations on May 10 polls


With positive and negative reports coming out on veracity of the May 10 Philippine automated elections, the International Election Observation Mission which monitored the polls has come out with its interim report.

The Asian Network for Free Elections deployed 39 long-term and short-term observers from 13 countries to Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon to observe and assess the elections. The following is a summary of the mission’s observations and findings:

The election was a potential turning point in the Philippines’ democratic history , in light of a history of elections marred by electoral fraud and irregularities. Even if people knew how to vote, many appeared apprehensive about the reliability of the automated machines.

One important feature of the process was simpler procedure for both absentee and overseas voters. The early detection of some of the ghost polling stations by the Commission on Elections somehow curbed the problem of multiple, fake and flying voting.

However, the voter lists were considered incomplete as a number of inadequacies raised concerns regarding accuracy and inclusiveness. Although verification safeguards did exist, incidences of multiple registrations occurred. Incomplete voter registration, where pictures and thumbprints were missing, must be rectified for future elections.

Campaign expenses for this election were costlier than previous elections and state administrative resources were used in support of some candidates whereas other candidates did not benefit similarly. In a few instances, some candidates used the state-owned establishments for the purpose of their campaign. Such examples underlined concern there was lack of distinct separation between the state administration and party structures during the campaign which was abused by incumbents.

Even before the campaign period began, a lot of candidates broke the rules on the advertising ban right away but the Commission on Elections seemed powerless to stop this, or simply lacked the political will.

Secrecy of the ballot was virtually impossible, due to arrangement of polling stations. Voters sat in close proximity to each other in crowded rooms with open windows, and although each voter was given a secrecy folder, the folder was too small to cover the entire ballot and in any case was underused.

Another problem was laxity in checking voters’ identity against the registered voters list, though it should be noted that the inclusion of voters’ biometrics data (photo and fingerprint) in the voters list, where possible, is a significant improvement from past practice. The order in which BEIs administered the signing and fingerprinting of the voters list and the issuance of the ballot also varied from one polling station to another. Other issues included improper or lack of sealing of the ballot box and PCOS machine.

Other problems were attributed to new practices in this year’s electoral administration. Long queues to vote resulted in waiting times that ranged from two to four hours, which discouraged some people from voting. The combination of precincts into clustered precincts allocated a maximum of one thousand voters per clustered precinct, yet only three BEIs were provided to handle many more voters per polling station than in previous elections. This situation was exacerbated whenever there were any technical problems with the PCOS machine.

In some rural areas, voters were still waiting as late as 10:30 p.m. The understaffing of the polling station also gave an excuse for party poll watchers to assist with the electoral administration, which clearly violated the principle of neutrality.

Among others, ANFREL suggested the following to make elections in the Philippines more free and fair:

1. Implement the regulations on campaign financing and spending.
2. Make all necessary efforts to end the culture of vote buying.
3. Eliminate campaigning on polling day, both inside and outside the polling stations.
4. Improve the voter registration process to ensure an authentic and reliable voters list.
5. Explore ways to modify the polling procedure or precinct districting in order to help maximize voter participation and public confidence in the election.
6. Ensure the secrecy of the ballot.
7. Strengthen training of BEIs and poll watchers to ensure that polling procedures are implemented in a uniform manner, and that the polling environment is orderly and peaceful.
8. Accredit a broad and representative range of civil society organizations, so that civil society can engage with and monitor the electoral process.
9. Design procedures to minimize the number of rejected ballots, such as conducting a manual count of rejected ballots.
10. Establish clear contingency plans for PCOS machine failure or transmission failure.
11. Publish data on the electoral process as soon as possible to increase transparency of the electoral process and allow for post-election monitoring by all stakeholders.
12. Thoroughly investigate election-related violent incidents as well as incidents of political violence, and bring the perpetrators to justice.


Guns, goons and gold in Paracelis

Alfred Dizon

(This piece is written by a college student who wants to be identified only as Policarpio.)

I am a student of political science in one of the prominent universities in Manila. I am completing my research work on political issues which I will be publishing soon. I selected Paracelis of Mountain Province, because it has been a haven of alleged massive vote buying. I became much interested because in the 2007 elections an incumbent congressman poured millions of pesos to win votes but a certain Arnold Pilando, an engineer, won over the said congressman in the area.

May 9 this year was a terrible situation. Many cars with markings of candidates and SUV cars without placards of candidates were running to and fro. I asked around and was told the cars were owned by congressional candidates and their supporters.

The following day, our attention was diverted when we heard that an army contingent apprehended three cars bearing high powered firearms. A lot of texting and calling were made by some individuals at the Paracelis municipal hall to check whether the news was true.

I overheard that the persons apprehended riding the three vehicles with long firearms and millions of cash were the sons and nephews of an incumbent official who is candidate for a top position on the province. We were waiting at the police station for the turnover but to no avail. After hours, a man informed me that a police blotter had been made but the names of the candidate’s sons were not in the report.

Some people like MarioYawan, Mi-ing, Fangkingas, Langkayas, Edwin Falag-ey and Johny Cherwaken. were in the list. The guns were nowhere to be found.

There were more reports heard about the firing of guns and burning of chapel of the Iglesia ni Kristo somewhere in Barangay Palitud or Buringal and the burning of PCOS machine and ballots in nearby Barangay Bunot and delay in transport of PCOS machine and compact flash cards. The police seemed to be caught unaware.

The people had mixed views. Some said special elections must be conducted due to massive vote buying with firearms used for coercion by a congressional candidate, his use of government resources and donations purposely for last year's calamity victims and delay in transport of election paraphernalia like PCOS machines and ballots.

I went to Bontoc to follow up the three vehicles that were transported, escorted by the Philippine Army and turned over to the PNP provincial headquarters. As I was chatting with a civilian, I overheard that one long firearm apprehended belonged to the congressional candidate and that the validation was even made with Camp Crame. The other guns seemed to be loose arms.

In an indignation rally at the Bontoc municipal quadrangle, the leaders and supporters of other candidates shouted for suspension of the proclamation of the "winning" congressional candidate because according to them a special election must be done in barangay Bunot.

"This issue is now is a challenge to the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, director general of the Philippine National Police, chairman of the Commission on Elections, PPCRV and the private sector. If the culprits will not be put in prison then some lives will be sacrificed in succeeding elections," a native of Bontoc said.
(Here is another letter written by Cayyog Assud on Mt Province politics.)

I am one among the youths who advocate for political change. When I was still young I saw some folks receiving cash or goods in exchange for votes. It is also very apparent during elections in organizations that most of the popular personalities won.

The 2007 elections in Paracelis was a turnaround in Mountain Province politics when the then incumbent congressman poured millions of money but his opponent won a big margin in the area.

In the recent campaign, I was motivated by a congressional candidate who I adjudged the best due to his good political background. I joined his campaign sorties in western Mountain Province.

It was my first time to have seen the developments in district 2 except for Bontoc where I usually passed on our to Baguio City. The other youths from the eastern side of Mountain Province were amazed because district 2 was more advanced in all sorts of development like on agriculture, infrastructures, business environments..

I also appreciated the style of campaign because the in-house staff always reminded us not to speak ill against other candidates. They included voters’ education in almost the rallies and small group caucuses.

But I cannot yet forget things I heard about a youth leader in Natonin who turned down the huge amount offered to her by a son and an abalayan of a certain candidate in exchange for buying voters of other youths.

During election day I had exchanges with other youths and known folks in my community. I was informed that most of the supporters of a perceived “winning candidate” were paid from P500.00 to P2,000.00 depending on the number of family members.

The vote buyers were riding in vehicles similar with what were published in the Mountain Province Exponent and their intonations were very similar to the Bontok dialect. They tried to speak in Ilocano but there were words that were explicitly heard like “noh anen ” or “wen yah” that are usually said by a Bontok folk.

As others and I observed, two or three of the persons giving money had short guns tucked-in in their waists.

Please keep up candidates who had solid votes from good people and volunteers. You will succeed in the forthcoming elections because the evil will soon be doomed to hell. The wrongdoers will enjoy but not too long. Their conscience will haunt them.


A history of betrayal

Perry Diaz

After the failed attempt to cast doubt on the accuracy and veracity of the May 10 presidential elections with the video interview of “Robin” -- a.k.a. “Koala Boy” -- one wonders if this was all part of a NO-PROC (no-proclamation) scenario reputedly concocted by people associated with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

With the subsequent actions of Gloria’s henchmen, it seems that the presidential race is far from over, in spite of the fact that President-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III commands a five-million vote advantage over his nearest opponent, former president Joseph “Erap“ Estrada. For some reason, it gives me a creepy feeling that NO-PROC is still in the works.

Consider that Speaker Prospero Nograles plans to move back the proclamation from June 4 to June 30, the last day of the current Congress which is also the last of Gloria’s presidency. He was quoted as saying that “the Senate and the House of Representatives, convening as the national board of canvassers, would proclaim the winning president and vice president ‘on or before high noon of June 30.’ ” But what if Congress fails to proclaim Noynoy by noon on June 30?

What exactly was on Nograles’ mind by deferring the proclamation until noon on June 30? That’s a 26-day delay! And what if there was no quorum in Congress on June 30 to proclaim the president and vice president?

Imagine Noynoy at the Luneta grandstand in front of tens of thousands cheering Filipinos waiting to witness the historic event.

Imagine the presence of foreign heads of states and dignitaries sitting behind Noynoy in the grandstand waiting for the official word from Congress.

Imagine Nograles and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile adjourning Congress for lack of quorum, never to meet again since it was the last day of the current Congress.

Imagine Gloria stepping down from the presidency only to assume it again as holdover president until the new president and vice president were proclaimed by the new Congress.

And imagine what could possibly ensue: people power, military takeover, coup d’etat, chaos, pandemonium, anarchy… and, possibly, bloodshed?

The power vacuum created by a NO-PROC scenario could bring the country back to the time of our fight for independence -- the unfinished revolution of 1896. The Katipunan was making progress notwithstanding the superiority of the trained and well-armed colonial army. But the political warfare between the Magdiwang faction of Supremo Andres Bonifacio and the Magdalo faction of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo led to armed confrontation between the two groups. They failed to coalesce their forces and fight side by side against the enemy. In the end the revolution lost its purpose and the leaders lost their souls to greed and thirst for power.

Fast forward to 1986. The “people power” revolution -- known as EDSA 1 -- deposed the tyrant Ferdinand Marcos and installed a revolutionary government led by Cory Aquino. But her presidency was rocked by coup d’etats perpetrated by military factions loyal to Marcos. Cory survived the assaults on her presidency and moved to change the constitution, which to this day is the supreme law of the land.

But in 2001, a coup d’etat disguised as “people power” revolution -- EDSA 2 -- ousted president Estrada and installed then vice president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in his place. It was a clean surgical execution made possible with the betrayal of Erap by his Armed Forces Chief of Staff and the “blessing” of the Supreme Court.

Within an hour of informing Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. of the removal of Estrada, Gloria was sworn in by Davide as “president,” not “acting president” as Erap was made to believe. So, in a swift and unscripted act of judicial discretion -- or indiscretion -- Gloria became “president.”

Gloria’s Machiavellian machinations lend credence to the leeriness of many people who believe that it’s not over until Gloria is off stage.

People would still remember when Gloria, back in December 2003, vowed in front of the shrine of Dr. Jose Rizal that she will not run for president in the 2004 elections. Not only did she break her promise, she allegedly cheated in the elections to make sure that she would remain in power for the next six years.

And when the end of her presidency was within sight, she moved to extend her rule by amending the constitution. She ran a campaign to gather signatures for a people’s initiative to replace the presidential system with a parliamentary form of government. She got more signatures than what was required. All that remained to be done for her to stay in power as Prime Minister of the Parliament was the Supreme Court’s “blessing,” just like it did for her in 2001. However, in November 2006, the Supreme Court, with a razor-thin 8-7 majority, issued a ruling penned by Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio rejecting the people’s initiative. It was a death blow to Gloria’s dream of extending her term of office.

But Gloria didn’t give up. She tried another approach. When her presidency was coming to an end, she ran for a congressional district seat representing her province, Pampanga. She said that she wanted to pursue charter change in Congress. She probably thought that with 159 congressmen under Lakas-Kampi- CMD, she’d be a shoo-in for the Speakership.

However, that’s predicated on all of them reelected last May 10. But with just a little over 100 congressmen allied with her who made it to the next Congress, she doesn’t have the number to win the Speakership. And with Noynoy becoming president, it is anticipated that Gloria would be betrayed by many of her party mates who would join or go into alliance with Noynoy’s Liberal Party. She knows how the presidency works and come July 1, she will be outside looking in -- just another member of Congress begging for pork.

Gloria knows what “betrayal” is. She studied it and used it as a means to an end. Indeed, she was so good at it that it would have made Lucrezia Borgia look like a convent girl. And if Niccolo Machiavelli were alive today, he would have rewritten “The Prince” and incorporated in it some of the things Gloria has done.

The question is: Is she going to put into play a NO-PROC scenario? Gloria has a penchant for pushing her luck too far. But this is one scenario that could unleash a backlash against her. A NO-PROC scenario would not be seen as just against Noynoy, it would be construed as against the Filipino people. The people have spoken -- loud and clear -- in the last elections and any attempt to extinguish their hopes and desire for change would be the ultimate betrayal which could ignite a “people power” revolution that would make EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 look like fire drills.

If Gloria wants history to treat her with some kindness, she should take a graceful bow when the final curtain falls. (PerryDiaz@gmail. com)


Wishful thinking under Noynoy

March L. Fianza

TUBA, Benguet -- On my way down to a cold dip in Asin, I noticed many of the stores still looked the way they were many, many years ago. Relatively, I thought if the small sari-sari stores still looked the same, maybe the owners wanted to maintain them that way or they did not have the means to increase capital.

As we are on the edge of an impending turnover in politics, that Asin road scenario made me look back to Ramon “Mondacs” Dacawi’s recognizable presidential election comment: “Uray sinu mangabak nga presidente, hanak met bumaknang.” (No matter who wins as president, I do not become rich).

In a sense, Mondacs’ remarks could be true. But although the presidency does not provide all, more often than not there are things that voters hope for under a new administration. For many of us, the reason for voting is to see change, maybe not necessarily for ourselves, but for the communities around us.

Once in a while I hear someone say “it’s not bad to dream.” This time then, I dream but for others. I only hope that these dreams come true to some extent under Noynoy’s watch.

In Benguet, vegetable farmers and their organizations are used for personal gains by politicians especially in elections that come every three years. Today, these farmers who have been partly responsible in putting politicians into office are the same farmers who go about their daily routine as if no election occurred.

“Uray sinu mangabak nga mayor, governor weno congressman ket parehas met lang biyag ko” (No matter who wins as mayor, governor or congressman, life will still be the same), Benguet farmers say.

Ilocos farmers are luckier. (Are they?) This is so because a total of about P22 billion is earned annually by the provinces that produce Virginia tobacco. The law or RA 7171 enacted on January 9, 1992 led to economic progress in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.

Since then, these provinces under Region I have become 1st class provinces. This was brought about by the share from the excise tax that was purely used in economic development, construction of farm-to-market roads and other infrastructure projects.

Governor-elect Chavit Singson authored the law in 1992. In fact, in February the national government released a total of more than P6 billion. Out of that, P3 billion went to Ilocos Sur as its share from the Tobacco Excise Tax.

How I wish Benguet province gets a similar provision under the new administration, considering the fact that it produces tons and tons of highland vegetables for all public markets in the country.

There was an attempt to uplift the condition of Benguet farmers by way of providing subsidy through legislation in 1997. But since all is fair in politics and elections, those who do their work in accordance with the needs of a bigger number of people as against the interests of a few are the ones who are attacked and put down.

Of course, the legislation that was supposed to help Benguet in terms of economic progress was discontinued. Obviously, what were more interesting to supporters were the public works contracts, the kabite and rip-rap that a politician could apportion to them.

In Baguio, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has a standing debt of P600 million. The agency has offered a partial payment of P54 million.

I thought, Baguio was supposed to have the right connections to Malacanang because of Congressman Morris Domogan’s links with GMA. But BCDA’s accumulated debt to the city has contradicted that. In fact Malacanang has played favorites with other provinces in the country.

Imagine the comparison. The national government can easily release P6 Billion to the Ilocos Region but can not make a decision to pay only P600 Million that represents outstanding debts to Baguio by an agency it created.

I wish this attitude of the national government towards the LGUs will change under Noynoy’s watch.

By the way, Uncle Joseph Zambrano from the PIA texted me upon learning about Noynoy’s insurmountable lead over his rivals in the presidential race.

In one of his text messages, he joked about Kris Aquino becoming her brother’s spokesperson and Boy Abunda being appointed as information office head to which I replied:

That will not be the case under Noynoy’s term. Those were precisely the things that we fought against when we voted for him – to stop appointing a personal manicurista to any government agency board, and gardener to other positions.

While the elections were on-going, professionals among Malacañang’s housekeeping staff were outraged. Why?

Not only did GMA appoint her personal manicurist to the board of trustees of Pag-IBIG Housing Fund and will make P130,000.00 a month in per diem, plus perks, for a fixed two-year term. Earlier, she named her gardener as deputy of the Luneta Park Administration.

I texted Uncle Joseph, that manner of appointing people to controversial posts has to change, too. –


Fairly a failure

Ike Señeres

One day before the election, the Commission on Elections said they were 98 percent ready. One day after the election, the Comelec said that it was fairly successful. I do not know what barometer they are using, but the only measure should be 99.995% accuracy, as it was defined in the Terms of Reference of the automation bidding.

Two days after the election, the Comelec said that their critics were proven wrong, and they even issued the propaganda that some of the critics admitted that they were happy to be wrong. For the record, I now say that I was not wrong, and I am not happy about what the Comelec has done and has not done.

I think that it is morally and technically wrong for government agencies to unilaterally declare the success of their own projects, because of an inherent conflict of interest. I have the same objection to the practice of the Philippine National Police to declare success by reporting low crime rates, because of the same conflict of interest issue.

If government agencies are really sincere and if they would want to be transparent about their own reports of success, they should allow third party reporting and validation by disinterested groups or organizations. In the interest of good governance, the government should use these independent reports as the basis for the payment of official financial obligations, such as the case of the Comelec automation project.

In several columns and on the air broadcast interviews, I challenged Comelec Chairman Jose Melo to prove that their system is trouble-free, without necessarily admitting on my part that their system is hack-free. As it turned out, system trouble became the more apparent problem, with some instances of internal hacking so to speak, allegedly perpetuated by internal operatives who gained access to the security codes and the passwords.

In a manner of speaking, hacking became a non-issue somewhere along the way, as the Comelec started removing the security features of the system one at a time. Their behavior is akin to someone who bought a very expensive car that is fully accessorized, but later on decided to strip his car of all accessories, until he is left with a stock car that actually costs lesser than the original price of his fully loaded car.

This analogy of buying a car goes back to the time when the Comelec supposedly piloted the Direct Recording Equipment (DRE) in the ARMM election, but later on they made a decision to use the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) technology. This behavior is akin so someone who has test driven a truck, but later on decided to buy a car.

Moving on with this analogy, the Comelec decided to deploy the OMR machines without the benefit of testing them. This behavior is akin to someone who buys a car, but decides later not to break it in, subjecting it right away to the rigors of day to day usage.

Since Comelec started with a quantitative claim that they were 98 percent ready, they should have ended it also with a quantitative report that it was 50 percent successful, which is my own numerical interpretation of what “fairly successful” means. In mathematical terms, that means an accuracy rate of only 10,000 for every 20,000 ballots, a far cry from the requirement of 1 mistake for every 20,000 ballots, as it was defined in the TOR.

When I interviewed SMARTMATIC spokesman Gene Gregorio in Net25, he could not explain how they were able to reprogram the compact flash (CF) cards if they were really “read only”, as Chairman Melo himself claimed. I took the trouble to explain on the air that CF cards are like CD-RW disks that could be re-written several times, unlike the ordinary CD disks that could be written only once, being “Write Once Read Many” (WORM) by design. I wonder if Melo understands this.

Under the cover of darkness, the Comelec decided to destroy the supposedly “defective” CF cards in their possession, until they were stopped by the legal action of some losing candidates. Since these cards are supposed to be government property, these should not be destroyed without following the normal accounting procedures. Since these cards are actually re-writable, what is the point in destroying assets that are still properly re-usable?

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Money is the rootof all evil

Jhunie B. Wahayna

The principle of money came from olden times when people would use gold or silver for trade. However, the constant fear of robbers and thieves meant that people needed a safe place to put there gold and silver. To fulfill this need the banking industry was born. People would surrender their goods to a banker who was to be trusted, in exchange for a claim check. Claim checks where soon being used as the new medium in exchange of goods.

The famous American author, Louisa May Alcott once said that, “Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it.”

Humans rely on money for a better life as much as they rely on water to live. The world does not necessarily need money.

There are many other different ways of currency. If money did not exist, this earth would have definitely been a better place. Money, the root of all evil, has shaped our world into a corrupt nation, a people without a conscience, and a society of very scrutinizing and greedy human beings.

Money is not the root of injustice. The root of injustice comes out of the wickedness of man and his love for money. It is mans greed and immoral ways that have perverted and uprooted the basic principles for which the idea of money had been originally devised for.

We must all understand that money is something that is not real. Money is a concept that we as a society all agree on. But this wasn’t always the case. Because people never satisfied with money, if people have money, they want some more, until they will adore it and becomes their “God”.

The Holy Bible teaches us that - “love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, in their eagerness to get rich, have wandered away from the faith and caused themselves a lot of pain.”

Money is a necessity but God wants us to take what He has given to us and multiply it. The verses from the Holy Bible on money and prosperity should inspire us that God is on our side. We do not have to be in debt and a slave to our money. He wants to pour out his blessing, and increase and prosper us in every way. God also wants us to share our wealth and be a greater blessing to others.
In the Bible,

Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ our Savior in exchanged for a bribe money. According to the gospels, he led a group of armed men to a garden where Jesus was praying and identified him with a kiss. After a brief scuffle, Jesus was seized and taken to the Jewish religious leaders. They put him through a long interrogation, then turned him over to the Romans and pressured the Roman governor Pontius Pilate into ordering his crucifixion.

The Jewish leaders paid Judas a bribe for his help. Matthew 26:15 says that it was "thirty pieces of silver", possibly referring to a silver coin known as a Tyrian shekel. But Judas didn't get any benefit from the money, because he died shortly after the betrayal. Matthew 27:3-5 says that he felt so much remorse over what he had done that he returned the bribe money and then hanged himself.

Judas was a common name in ancient Palestine, the gospel writers usually added the surname Iscariot to make it clear who they were talking about. John 6:71 calls him "Judas Iscariot the son of Simon." He was put in charge of the disciples' money, keeping it in a special box and making purchases for the group as needed.

John 12:6 says that he sometimes stole money from the box for his personal use. Because of money, human beings are taught to steal, to become traitors just like Judas Iscariot, to become greedy, to become robbers, to become a corrupt employees and public servants, to become a corrupt leader, a corrupt politician among other evil deeds that money can bring.


Auntie Maria

Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province -- Auntie Maria is my great aunt. She always preferred to be called Auntie. Even if she was supposed to be referred to as my grandmother as she is the sister of my grandma, Emilia Magalgalit Likigan who is the mother of my mother Shirley Pacyaya Dizon.

Her preference to be called Auntie must have been that she never got married and didn’t have children making an endearing term as Auntie more relevant than calling her a grandma.

Auntie Maria lived to reach 84 years old, going 85 on Nov. 19 when she resigned to the call of the Creator on May 21, 2010. She died having suffered her first and last deathly ‘stroke’ for nearly two months paralyzing a part of her body which got her stuck physically helpless on her bed, causing her to barely utter a word , and getting her fed via a tube attached to her nose.

Such a state I wouldn’t want to talk more about and instead talk about Auntie Maria and how she made herself and her being a part of me and a part of other cousins, aunties and uncles as well who stayed with her sometime in their early lives in Ambasing, Sagada.

I stayed with Auntie Maria when I was in high school. Yes, dear Auntie Maria who was a stickler to good manners and right conduct got her words firmly and repeatedly reminded in how a lady should sit, eat, walk, talk or act. I would like to think that her Victorian and conservative advise stuck some values in my already liberal thoughts and acts sometimes.

Anyway, the dinner table is a place for Auntie Maria to get her tongue lashing if one did not wash her hands before sitting down to eat. It was a reprimand when someone eats a big chunk of meat by tearing this by the teeth instead of getting a knife and cutting these into pieces or tearing it apart with the fingers.

Well, it was a sin to eat very fast, or fill the plate full with food as one can always reach out for more on the table. And yes, slouching when eating is a no-no. I really wish I don’t slouch as I catch myself slouching most of the time while eating and facing the computer.

And when you don’t like to eat raw tomatoes or an eggplant as Manang Rose Baaten said during the burial mass in church, Auntie Maria would tell you to open your eyes when you eat it.

Good eating habits is a healthy reminder for everyone, much as good habits teaches one to relish and respect while enjoying food which goes into one’s biological, physiological, and spiritual body for nourishment.

Before I go further talking about what to eat which is not much of an issue as food in the countryside is organic with camote tops, sayote and lowland vegetables available on market days, added with some helpings of meat shared by relatives who do ceremonial butchering of pigs for thanksgiving purposes, I talk about other things having stayed with Auntie Maria for practically four years in high school.

Sitting with legs spread apart like a man gets one sharply rebuked at. Ahuh! had always heard some lashing from the Victorian Auntie Maria whenever she caught me sitting like a man instead of having my legs crossed. For Auntie Maria who was a part of the Jurassic age not to have logged in World Wide Web to discover how women now sit, it must have been a world gone upside down with such discovery.

Community responsibility as an obligation is a strong principle Auntie Maria stressed over moments of my being non-conformist. She religiously gave supon (tokens) to kins and friends who got married, gave abuloy as well to relatives and friends and community members who die, attending wakes and weddings and baptisms, while taking care of her ailing mother then. Such is a value of sharing and belonging which is worth keeping. After her retirement from teaching and as principal of Ankileng Elementary School, she busied herself joining women’s groups including the Episcopal Church Women and retired and elderly organizations.

It was a reminder to listen to what others are saying before telling what one will say, something I cherish remembering with the many moments of conversations I shared with Auntie Maria over bouts of laughter. It takes patience and reflection to sit a while and munch over what one says before telling what one thinks, that I wish to be more attentive in listening. This I think is one of the most relevant lessons I learned from Auntie Maria aside from the automatic habit of washing my hands before I eat.

For a great teacher too many pupils and a mother to children - cousins and aunts and uncles- may Auntie Maria join the Greatest Teacher in the kingdom where spirits continue to teach and remind the living how it is to live and die and live again.


A 24-hour tour services business

Peter Imbong

This business can set up your trip anytime, any day according to the Department of Tourism, some four million tourists, both foreign and domestic, have explored the Philippines in the first half of 2009 alone, easily surpassing the totals in the same period during the previous two years.

And with airlines now offering affordable travel packages plus cheap accommodations catering to jet-setting business travelers and backpackers, the numbers are bound to rise.

But what happens when travel agencies and tour services have closed for the night? Seeing the opportunityto create a new service, Singapore native Darren Murali Palanisamy created the Philippines’ first 24-hour touring service in Eliz & Ethan Tour Services. [Raintree eyes own hotels and restaurants]

Started in June this year with the help of his Filipina wife Arlyn Cariño, start-up capital of only P25,000 and a staff of six, Palanisamy developed a simple concept: to give every traveler a personalized, cheap, and round-the-clock touring service in and around the Philippines.

There are no normal working hours for Palanisamy and his crew of tour guides. A business traveler coming from, for example, a 15-hour flight arrives at the international airport at three in the morning.

Instead of waiting for a travel agency to open at 10 am, he can already call Eliz & Ethan to book the day—either touring old Manila’s cobblestone streets, swimming in Boracay’s pristine beaches, or wakeboarding in Camarines Sur, all accompanied by a personal English-speaking tour guide.

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Case filed against Dalog over ‘fraud, vote buying’

>> Monday, May 24, 2010

By Gina Dizon

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Amid protests, alleged incidents of fraud, terrorism and vote buying set grounds for a disqualification case filed by congressional candidate Jupiter Dominguez against proclaimed Congressman-Elect Maximo Dalog Sr. May 17 at the Commission on Elections central office in Manila.

This, as a resolution was circulated by concerned residents, church and nongovernment groups “condemning in the strongest possible terms massive vote buying, use of illegal firearms in the political exercise, terrorism, electoral cheating and other violations of election laws, rules and regulations” in Mountain Province.

It alleged these were “perpetuated” by Dalog, his supporters and henchmen.

The resolution called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to conduct an honest, speedy and full-blown investigation of said offenses.

Dalog garnered 24, 724 votes while Dominguez got 23,973 votes in counting of remaining votes from Barlig and contested precincts of Bunot, Paracelis.

Violations of the Omnibus Election Code on vote buying, coercion, and terrorism were noted in the petition filed by Dominguez with the Commission on Elections.

Affidavits of witnesses were noted on separate incidents of reported vote buying in Sabangan containing envelopes bearing the name and picture of Dalog plus a P500 cash.

Another witness in Natonin reportedly testified that he was given P25, 000 and instructed to distribute P1, 000 per household in favor of votes for Dalog.

Dominguez in his petition said the inducer to a criminal act should be held responsible for acts of persons directly doing the offense.

Earlier, a PCOS machine at Apalis precinct in Paracelis with a voting population of 148 was burned.

A report from Mountain Province police director Supt. Fortunato Albas said “efforts are being exerted to validate intelligence reports disclosing that Clarence Dalog, one of the sons of Gov. Maximo Dalog was implicated in the burning of the PCOS machine.”

Albas said “in the absence of incriminating pieces of evidence which could pinpoint the real orchestrator of the crime, it is not farfetched that greed for political power is the most probable motive behind the crime. In as much as the political contest is very close for the contending parties, one resorts to violence in order to ensure his success no matter how wicked the results may impose on the part of the victims.

Meantime a precinct at Addang, Bunot, Paracelis with a total voting population of 656 was met with heated commotion among the lined up voters which eventually led to the closing of the polling precinct at 4 pm as claimed by witnesses.

A total of 160 voters were not able to vote in this precinct which led some local candidates to press for failure of elections in said precinxt and call for special elections.

Addang’s Board of Election Inspector Franklin Dulawon during the deliberations before the Municipal Board of Canvassers and Comelec officials said the polling place closed at 7:49 pm.

There are five precincts of Bunot- Apalis, Ma-ababnot, Addang, Pilac and Ampekla.

One of the candidates from Paracelis questioned why he registered a zero vote in Ma-ababnot precinct when in fact he comes from said place.

Albas noted that Barangay Bunot which lies near the province of Kalinga is “considered as one of the deciding factors in situations where rivalry between opposing candidates is very close considering that the people in the area have very strong family ties where the principle of one for all for one is being practiced. If it is applied in politics, the candidate of one is the candidate of all.”

In the same development, a lawyer said that a disqualification case when filed after the proclamation of a candidate shall be dismissed as a disqualification case but the case shall be referred to the law department of the Comelec for preliminary investigation and if evidence of guilt is found to be strong, shall be eventually pursued at the Regional Trial Court.


Ilocos PNP exec killed in Vizcaya mishap

CAMP GEN. FLORENDO, La Union- A police senior superintendent (colonel in the Arny) died before dawn Monday after is vehicle collided head on with an oncoming bus along a sharp curve highway in Darapidap, Aritao, Nueva Viscaya.

Reports received by Chief Supt. Constante D. Azares, Ilocos Regionpolice director, said Sr. Supt. Teodorico Danao, chief of the regional police community Relations here, died on the spot due to the strong impact of the collision.

Danao’s driver-aide POI Reginaldo Ramos was also seriously hurt and rushed to a hospital for treatment

Investigation showed the victim, a native of Panacal Village, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, was on his way to this regional police camp around 3:30 a.m. aboard his Toyota Revo with plate number XDP 547 when the incident happened.

Police said that the victim’s van was cruising southbound when along the sharp curve, bumped into an incoming Florida bus with plate number AVC 247 driven by Artemio Roldan.

As a result of the impact, Danao died on the spot due to broken ribs and other body injuries.
As the victim’s van and the Florida bus collided, another bus tailing the Florida, a Dagupan Bus, also hit the Florida bus.

The victim and his driver were rushed to the Bambang hospital but Danao was declared dead by the attending physician.

Azares and his men here mourned the death of Danao who they described as kind.

Supt. Raul Romero, public information officer, said Danao’s killing was a great loss to the command. “Maghahabol sana ng flag raising ceremony si Col. Danao nung mangyari ang incident,” added Romero.


Gunman in radioman’s shooting still at large

By Dexter A. See

TABUK CITY – Police are now trying to identify a gunman and his cohort who who shot a hard-hitting radio anchor here on May 15.

Senior Supt. Virgilio Laya, director of the Kalinga provincial police office, identified the victim as Jerome Tabanganay, 45, married, a radio announcer of DZRK Radyo ng Bayan Tabuk, who hails from this city.

Taabanganay is now recuperating after he was wounded and confined in a local hospital after being shot by the gunman in front of a government radio station in Bulanao, here.

Laya said Tabanganay had just parked his motorcycle and was about to unsaddle for his regular morning radio program “Agenda” when two men on a Honda XRM motorcycle stopped beside him.

One of the men asked him whether or not he was Jerome Tabanganay.

Sensing danger, Tabanganay ran into the radio station but was shot and hit in the right foot just before he got inside.

The gunman, packing a Cal.45 pistol and the motorcycle driver quickly fled the scene.
Police have yet to identity the gunman and his companion including motive of the shooting.


Comelec warns bets: Submit poll expenses or be disqualified

By Glaiza Ana de los Reyes

BAGUIO CITY – Poll bets who fail to submit election expenditures face disqualification and would be barred from assuming their positions inholding public office, the regional Commission on Elections here warned.

The Comelec requires all candidates who ran during the last election to submit their sworn statement of election contribution and expenditures before June 9.

This even as no poll bet from Baguio and Benguet has reportedly submited such list to the electoral body as of press time even as two mayoral candidates of Baguio denied they overspent last elections.

Candidates Mauricio Domogan and Mark Go told local media it’s not true that they over spent and exceeded the limitation set by the Comelec.

Domogan won as mayor of this summer resort city.

Overspending falls under election offense, said lawyer Elenita Tabangin, Baguio-Benguet Comelec chief.

“No one has filed cases that they (Domogan and Go) exceeded the limits, but they will go under investigation, she said.

Tabangin said each candidate could only spend P3 per voter depending on population of municipality.

If there are overspent expenses, receipts for election paraphernalia to papers, tarpaulins and TV ads would have to be submitted, she added.

According to Tabangin, candidates who won but failed to submit their requirements will have cases filed against them by the Comelec for violation of the Omnibus Election Code.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Internal Revenue said tax collection in relation to this would be a big help for the government.


Groups seek government action on Cagayan anti-mine activist killings

BUGUEY, Cagayan -- Environmental and human rights group, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), has urged government to hasten investigation in the series of killings and violence that targeted anti-mining leaders in Buguey, Cagayan and calls for a stricter implementation of peace and order measures in the province.

“We have already recorded five deaths of anti-mining activists within the span of six months since November last year,” said ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garaganera.

“Recently, we [ATM] received report that San Lorenzo barangay liason officer Adamson Arellano was rushed to the Lyceum Hope Hospital in Aparri on May 17 after being shot in the leg and foot by unidentified men while riding his motorcycle in a national hi-way in barangay Villagracia,” said Garganera.

“Arellano is lucky to have escaped death. But it is not the same for the five anti-mining activists who have already died from the brutal killings while their respective families have yet to claim justice,” said Garganera.

He added mining in Cagayan had always been a hot political issue. “The recent election in Cagayan has been the battleground between the pro- and anti-mining candidates. Right now we fear for the lives of other anti-mining local officials and activists, who remain strong on their position against mining operations in the province specially Buguey.”

“We seek for government’s action to fast track investigations of the recent shooting of Adamson Arellano and killings of William Arzadon, Conrado Buenaflor, Gensun Agustin, Pedrito Tabaco and Alfredo Rabit. We also ask government law enforcement authorities to implement stricter measures to keep the peace and order in the Cagayan, specially in Buguey,” said Garganera.

Recently, Fula barangay captain William Arzadon died on the spot when he was shot many times by unidentified men while riding his motorcycle on his way home in Buguey on May 15.

Conrado Buenaflor, member of the Citizen Action Unit (CAU) and head of Task Force Lapu-Lapu, which monitors shoreline mining and illegal fishing activities under the leadership of Taruc, was shot by an unidentified gunman in front of his own residence in Barangay Leron on May 9. Buenaflor passed away on May 13, after days of struggle for his life in a hospital in Tuguegarao.

Gensun Agustin, one of the leaders of the anti-mining civil society group Alliance of Buguey Community Development Advocates (Albucoda) and member of the Federation of Anti-Mining Advocates in Cagayan (Famac) was gunned down by unidentified men last March 1 while on his way home after delivering a lecture on mining impacts in Buguey.

Anti-mining advocates Pedrito Tabaco and his brother-in-law Alfredo Rabit were gunned down by unidentified men while riding together in a motorcycle on their way home in Barangay Leron Buguey on November 30 last year.

“Arellano, Arzadon, Buenaflor, Agustin, Tabaco and Rabit were all known strong supporters of staunch anti-mining Buguey mayor Ignacio Taruc who recently ran against the son of Senator Juan Ponce Enrileand another contender for the House Representative seat in Cagayan first district,” said Garganera.

Taruc garnered 40.42 percent of the total votes in the Congressional race, which was by won Juan Ponce C. Enrile Jr. with 56.23 percent votes according to the Commission on Election (Comelec) results.

Buguey is rich in black sand (magnetite) eyed by mining companies. Its wetlands have been identified as anImportant Bird Area (IBA), significant in staging and wintering area for migratory waterbirds but the site has no official protected status yet.

ATM is an advocacy group and people’s movement composed of more than eighty (80) organizations from mining-affected communities and civil society organizations nationwide convened by HARIBON, Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center – Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC/FOEI) and PhilippinePartnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA). (30)


New Benguet town officials proclaimed

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Commission on Elections bared last week the list of winning Benguet officials in the municipal level in the May 10 elections.

All were inducted to office by the Comelec namely:

Atok - Mayor Peter Alos, Vice Mayor Marson Lay-at. Councilors – Andrew Tumayon, Angelito Galao Sr., Domingo Oras, Presco Tiotio, Pulmano Depnag, Dizal Pa-ang, Paquito Calantas, and Edd Mayor.

Bakun – Mayor Marcelo Contada, Vice Mayor Paulino Dalmones. Councilors – Crispin Atonen, Luis Lasuden, Edward Buscol, Lorenzo Santiban, Virginia Lacbongan, Bill Raymundo, Marcial Tamid-ay, and Jose Dio-alan

Bokod – Mayor Mauricio Mackay, Vice Mayor Reynaldo Tello. Councilors – Hanalyn Oldico, Pedro Anton, Quinto Bumakil, Maximo Camado, Rogelio Basco, Yolanda Waguey, Patricio Cuilan, and Marian Calawen.

Buguias – Mayor Melchor Diclas, Vice Mayor Ireneo Calwag. Councilors – Bernadette Willie, Julius Amos, Florencio Vicente, Dione Baucas, Federico Aquisio, Daniel Igualdo, Frnacisco Lesion, and Vicente Kitongan.

Itogon – Mayor Oscar Camantilies, Vice Mayor Noel Ngolob. Councilors – Alexander Fianza, Norberto Pacio, Adriano Carantes, Bernard Waclin, Annie Galiega, Arnel Bahingawan, Johnny Galutan, and Gerard Cornel.

Kabayan – Mayor Faustino Aquisan, Vice Mayor Jimmy Guinsiman. Councilors – Lonie Tampoc, Dorothea Sental, Terio Aguinse, Madelyn Meno, Alano Clabson, Salvador Aroco, Marcelino Taynan, and Elmer Ganase.

Kapangan – Mayor Roberto Canuto, Vice Mayor Lorenzo Lauro. Councilors – Manny Fermin, Mayo Eslay, Hector Mariano, Harris Dizon, Estacio Canuto, Romeo Dumaguing, Rudy Teofilo, and Daniel Basigan Jr.

Kibungan – Mayor Benito Siadto, Vice Mayor Sacta. Councilors – Cecilio Fianza Sr., Edwin Nitron, Reynaldo Postino, Doroteho Pascual, Octavio Placido, Joseph Pantaleon, Lovio Nabe, and Philmore Dayao.

La Trinidad – Mayor Gregorio Abalos Jr, Vice Mayor Romeo Salda. Councilors – Jim Botiwey, Henry Kipas, Arthur Shontogan, Roderick Awingan, Horacio Ramos Jr., Estrella Adeban, Francis Lee, and Von Rayn Tauli.

Mankayan – Materno Luspian, Paterno Dacanay, Councilors - Jules Tanglib, William Mendoza, Cellong Campos, Greta Almora, Evelyn Ayan, Joseph Denver Tongacan, Rufino Buli-e, and Santos Labi.

Sablan – Mayor Arthur Baldo, Vice Mayor Julio Gayaman. Councilors – Leonardo Lawana, Manuel Munar Jr.Vilma Ringor, Herminigildo Ome, Calixto Tanas, Rogelio Sito, Justo Barawa, and Eulalia Tacay.

Tuba – Mayor Florencio Bentrez, Vice Mayor Noel Ngolob. Councilors - Maria Carantes Ignacio Rivera, Adora Paus, Rebecca Apil, Dick Balting, Roger Kitma, Gavey Behis,and Pedro Esteban.

Tublay – Mayor Ruben Paoad, Vice Mayor Armando Lauro, Councilors – Modesto Pungayan Jr, Marvin Mayos, Reynaldo Sotero, Jose Adnol, Pepito Darcio, Wilfredo Danio, Soriano Mendoza, and Daniel Salbino.

Earlier, the Comelec proclaimed lawyer Ronald Cosalan, Nestor Fongwan and Crescencio Pacalso as congressman, governor and vice governor respectively. -- S.C. Aro


Slain Abra town mayor's wife wins Congress seat

BANGUED, Abra– The widow of a slain Abra town mayor was proclaimed winner in the lone district congressional race of this violence-rocked province, edging out re-electionist Rep. Cecilia Luna.

Proclaimed was Jocelyn Valera-Bernos, widow of former La Paz mayor Israel Bernos, garnering 48,212 votes against Luna’s 46,880.

Her husband was killed while watching a basketball game in the town plaza four years ago.
The congresswoman-elect comes from a political familyf, being the daughter of Bangued Mayor Dominic Valera who is facing charges for the killing of a driver of rival Ryan Luna.

Also proclaimed was re-electionist Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin, younger brother of the late congressman Chito Bersamin who was gunned down while attending a church wedding in Quezon City in 2006. – Teddy Molina


Army files charges vs four gun ban violators

By Gina Dizon

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Charges for illegal possession of firearms and gun ban violation were filed at the office of the provincial fiscal here against four suspects, allegedly relatives and supporters of Congressman-Elect Maximo Dalog who were arrested May 11 in Barangay Bunot, Paracelis with a cache of firearms aboard three vehicles.

This as concerned nongovernment organizations, church members and concerned residents urged the offices of Chairman Jose Melo of the Commission on Elections, Director General Jesus Versoza of the Philippine National Police, General Delfin Bangit of the Philippine Army, National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the arrest and release of those involved in the incident citing attention to the confiscated Bushmaster Cal. 5.56 allegedly owned by Dalog and a 92 FS Pietro Beretta cal 9mm accordingly issued to police Insp. Dexter Mariano Paredes.

Brent Focasan, Philippine National Police provincial legal officer said the Philippine Army filed charges against the accused on May 20.

Suspects Mariano Yawan, 38; Fangkingan Hewan, 27, Florizel Miing, 27 and Paredes were reportedly nabbed at Sitio Ampekla, Bunot on May 11 by Army personnel but were released on May 13 due to non-filing of appropriate charges by the PNP within prescribed time of 36 hours following their arrest.

This, due to non-release of affidavits of arrest by arresting officers of the Charlie Company of the 54th Infantry Batallion.

With this development, witnesses were reportedly surprised to know that one of the sons of Dalog who was allegedly seen riding in one of the confiscated cars loading the guns was not included among those charged.

According to the Paracelis PNP spot report, six firearms were caught loaded in three vehicles -- Mitsubishi Pajero, Toyota Hi Lux and Strada Pickup driven by the three apprehended men.

One of the guns confiscated, a high powered rifle 556 Colt is reportedly registered under Mountain Province Congressman-Elect Maximo B. Dalog as shown in a certification from the Firearms and Explosives Division of the National Police Commission.

Another confiscated gun, a Cal 9 mm Beretta as certified by Napolcom was reportedly issued to Insp. Paredes and a shotgun 12GA Armscor registered with Vanguard Watchman Agency Inc.

In Camp Crame, Bong Durana, senior executive assistant to PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa, in an interview, said in relation to the case, the PNP adheres to its mandate and call for non-partisanship among police personnel in elections of the country.

“The PNP makes sure that the ax will fall against personnel involved in partisan politics, even those who may be found culpable after an investigation,” Durana said regarding the Paracelis case.


Destruction of road hit;‘waste of public funds’

By Tanya A. Tabora

BAGUIO CITY – Residents here and nearby La Trinidad, Benguet assailed government officials responsible for what they called destruction of a well-paved cemented road to reconcretize it.

The repair of the 500-meter stretch of Magsaysay Avenue here had been causing inconvenience to motorists for more than two weeks prompting them to petition contractors to speed up work to ease heavy traffic.

Complainants said, the past nights, there were only four laborers working the stretch from the Pines City Colleges up to Bell Church.

Following this, contractors added a few crew who started work at daytime, but still, they said, these were not enough.

The P13-million “re-blocking” is part of the package of road repairs which includes Outlook Drive, Kennon Road and Marcos Highway.

The Kennon Road project here has also been controversial because simultaneous with its closure, the alternate Loakan Road was likewise closed, resulting to traffic jams in both roads
Project implementors started the repair before the elections. The petitioners asked the contractor to work 24 hours daily and add more laborers to speed up work.

According to Public Works and Highways district engineer Ireneo Gallato, the project for the repair will be done early next month.

Irate residents said the project was a waste of public funds since the road was in good condition before work started to have it reconcretized.

“They could have used the funds to build or repair barangay roads which needed more priority,” a motorist said.


Love angle seen in shooting of farmer

By Mar T Supnad

CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur- Police authorities are looking into a love angle on the May 16 bloody killing of a farmer who had reportedly just separated again from his latest live in partner in Barangay Calunboyan, this city.

Supt. Marlo Castillo, chief of police here, said one angle the police are looking into is the reported sudden separation of the victim identified as Alejandrino Astrero of Calungboyan, who was shot dead by unknown killer while the victim was sleeping alone inside his house in the area.

The victim suffered five gunshot wounds- two in the head, two in the chest and one in the neck-that caused his instant death.

Neighbors of the victim said they suddenly heard burst of gunfire in the dead of night but did not know it was Astrero who was shot.

When they woke up in the morning, they noticed that the victim did not come out of his house prompting them to look for him.

They found the victim dead.

Castillo said they recovered spent shells of Cal. 9mm at the crime scene.

Castillo said they have yet to conclude the motive of the slaying, saying there were still investigating.


Padaca loses but vows fight against corruption

ILAGAN, Isabela,– Despite her heartbreaking election loss, Gov. Grace Padaca declared she would continue her crusade to rid the province of corruption and other illegal activities.

“I will continue fighting for you but I cannot do it all alone. You have also to help yourself. Be vigilant against those who will take advantage of you... those who have been undermining your rights and dignity,” said the 46-year-old Padaca, hours after her election defeat.

Padaca lost to now governor-elect three-term third district Rep. Faustino Dy III by a narrow margin – 274,557 votes against her 271,319 votes – derailing what could have been her third and final term as governor of this country’s third largest province.

Her loss brought the Dys back to the province’s top post, which the family had held for 34 years until one of its scions – then incumbent governor Faustino Dy Jr. – lost to Padaca via a huge margin of over 40,000 votes.

Padaca, who described the Dys’ reign as marred with corruption, patronage politics and illegal logging, repeated the same feat against another Dy scion, Benjamin Dy, himself a former three-term governor, whom she defeated in 2007 en route to her second term.

Padaca’s key allies also lost miserably in the May 10 polls, including her vice gubernatorial bet, second district Rep. Edwin Uy, who was defeated by Dy’s running mate, outgoing first district Rep. Rodito Albano.

Vice Gov. Ramon Reyes also lost in the race for the province’s third congressional district seat against Dy’s brother, three-term Alicia town Mayor Napoleon Dy.

The three other congressional seats here were also won by the allies of Dy and Albano.
Mayoral bets identified with the Padaca-Uy camp only managed to grab nine of Isabela’s 36 municipalities.

“I weep for Isabela. I’m a little glad for (myself as) I will now be able to sleep a little earlier, no longer overburdened by the pressures of being the governor,” Padaca said, trying to hold back tears.

“But it does not mean that I will be closing my eyes to the problems of my fellow Isabelinos,” added Padaca, a former hard-hitting broadcaster-turned-politician. -- CL


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