Illegal game rampant in Baguio, Benguet: Still no action from PNP on NL jueteng

>> Monday, December 20, 2010

BAGUIO CITY – There is still no concerted action from the Philippine National Police to stop rampant illegal gambling like jueteng in northern Luzon despite opposition of cause-oriented groups like the church, sources said.

Jueteng operators are reportedly raking in money in northern Luzon like Region 1 and the Cordillera particularly Baguio and Benguet.

Anti-jueteng groups said no police chief had been relieved in areas where jueteng abound under the “one strike policy” of the Philippine National Police.

The policy mandates any police chief found remiss in his duties for jueteng operations under his turf would be relieved.

But last Monday, in Camp Oscar Florendo, San Fernando City, La Union, Chief Supt. Franklin Jesus Bucayu, chief of the human rights affairs office in Camp Crame, assumed as new director of the Region 1 police, as approved by President Aquino.

Bucayu, a Philippine Military Academy class of 1981, replaced Chief Supt. Orlando Mabutas after being chosen from among the more than 20 police generals who vied for the position.

With the reported resumption of jueteng in Region 1 Mabutas said a month earlier he was verifying reports.

He said police officers where jueteng was found would be relieved from their posts in accordance with the one-strike policy.

But even the day before Bucayo assumed his post, Mabutas didn’t confirm or deny the existence of jueteng in the Ilocos Region particularly Pangasinan.

Bucayo, in assuming office said, “One of the major thrusts of my term is to continue strengthening police-community partnership to achieve maximum synergy of efforts.”

“We will keep performing with renewed vigor our mandate to provide a safe and secure environment for the people, an environment that is favorable to economic and progress,” he said.

Bucayo however didn’t mention if he would start a no-nonsense drive against jueteng.

Before his assignment as Crame’s human rights affairs chief, Bucayu served as La Union police director in 2007-2009 and PRO1 chief-of-staff in late 2009.

In the Cordillera, there had also been no relief of police officers in areas where jueteng thrived particularly in Baguio and Benguet.

In Benguet jueteng is now rampant in the towns of La Trinidad, Buguias and Mankayan.
A jueteng operator based in La Trinidad where draws are reportedly held, reportedly increased bet collectors known as kubradors who are now gathering wagers in Baguio.

The kubradors reportedly use a list of jai-alai games as props but have separate sheets for jueteng bets.

Sources said jueteng had been running for almost a month in most northern Luzon areas despite denials of government officials and police chiefs.

In Baguio, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, United Methodist Church and students marched down Session Road to City Hall early this month to press officials to stop illegal gambling.

Rallyists, headed by Roman Catholic Bishop Carlito Cenzon and former city mayor Braulio Yaranon said they were opposing rampant gambling – legal or illegal -- in Baguio and Benguet like jueteng, lotto, bingo, tong-it, jai-alai among others.

“Gambling is not only prohibited by the law but it is also prohibited by the law of God," said Yaranon who was also a former regional trial court judge.

Cenzon said gambling should be stopped as it is a sin to God and makes life miserable for the bettor and his family.

City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said he was against illegal gambling.

But anti-gambling residents said to date, kubradors were still going their merry ways since city police were not arresting them.

Task Force Jupiter, earlier formed by Domogan to stop illegal gambling in the city, had become inutile as no arrests of kubradors were being made, residents said.

In Baguio for the past weeks, jueteng operators resurrected the illegal numbers game by holding draws near Malcolm Square at the central business district at the foot of Session Road.

The operators claimed it was bingo, but members of Task Force Jupiter raided the area and found no bingo materials.

Bettors said the illegal game came to be known as |bingoteng.”

This, as reports reaching the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office said gambling lords have intensified their jueteng operations using results of Small Town Lotteries, jai alai or their own draws in their respective localities in Luzon,

Sources said STL-jueteng operations were rampant in Angeles City, Bataan and Bulacan.

Among the suspected jueteng fronts are big gaming corporations identified with known gambling lords in Luzon.

The continued jueteng operations under the guise of STL has resulted to big loss of sales of the legal numbers game in various parts of Luzon.

Jueteng lords were reportedly able to secure franchises for the STL, which practically shielded them from police raids because of the legality of their businesses.

Some of the gaming corporations were reportedly able to get permit to operate up to 2013, which was, approved by the previous management of the PCSO.

The renewed operations of the illegal numbers game came as the new PCSO board headed by chairman Margie Juico finalizes the review of the STL operations in various parts of Luzon.
The review is being conducted with the help of the Department of Interior and Local Government, which has the list of all known gambling lords across the country.

Aside from the STL, gambling lords, are also using the results of jai-alai games played inside the Cagayan Freeport Zone Authority in Port Irene in Cagayan.

Atong Ang reportedly operates the jail-alai with the consent of Freeport authorities.

The jai-alai has resulted to the operation of masiao in Visayas and Mindanao, which gets its result from the Cagayan Freeport.

The masiao, a three-digit game combination from one to nine is popular in Visayas and Mindanao particularly in Cebu, competing with the minor online lotto games such as EZ 2 and the three-digit games of the PCSO.

The operations of jai-alai, however, is beyond the jurisdiction of the PCSO and other government agencies because it’s operating inside the Freeport Zone.

“Masiao illegal numbers game will continue to thrive with the jai-alai operations in Cagayan” a PCSO official lamented.

In Lingayen, Pangasinan, Archbishop Oscar Cruz earlier dared President Aquino to totally stop jueteng in the country which he said, is now rampant in Region 1.

Cruz, who chairs the Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng (People’s Crusade Against Jueteng) said all the President had to do to stop jueteng was tell concerned government officials including the police: “Stop jueteng!”

Still in Pangasinan, sources said jueteng has now “comfortably returned” in all six districts considering that no arrests have been made on kubradors or operators.

A certain Orduna allegedly gave the go-signal for jueteng operators in the six districts to resume operations.

A certain “Boy Bata” allegedly operates jueteng in Binmaley, Lingayen, Bugallon and San Fabian towns and Dagupan City.

A certain Mallorca reportedly operates in Bayambang, Malasiqui, Mangaldan, Manaoag and Mapandan towns.

Another jueteng operator identified as a certain Co reportedly operates in the fifth district.

In the sixth district, a certain Marlon is reportedly the jueteng boss.

In Aguilar, Mangatarem, Urbiztondo and Basista towns, jueteng is reportedly under a certain Sison.

A certain Bebot is reportedly the operator in Villasis, Sto. Tomas, Alcala,Bautista and Carmen towns.

In the past, these operators were supposedly the ones behind jueteng in the province.

According to sources, daily jueteng bets in the six districts of Pangasinan reach P10 million but the amount could become higher with the yuletide season.

Despite these, provincial police director Senior Supt. Rosueto Ricaforte told local newsmen with a straight face, “There is no jueteng in Pangasinan.” -- With reports from Genevieve Pacheco, Jerry Padilla, Jennelyn Mondejar and Armand Tamaray


Cybersex den owners get life

SAN FERNANDO, La Union– An American and his Filipino wife were sentenced to life imprisonment for operating a cybersex den here in 2004 and employing minors to pose naked before foreign customers.

Judge Victor Concepcion of the Regional Trial Court Branch 66 also ordered the convicts, Clifford Hackett of Colorado, USA, and his Filipina wife, Jacquiline Tendencia-Hackett, to pay a fine of P2 million.

The couple and three of their female employees, two of them minors, were caught during a police raid on Nov. 22, 2004 in a rented house at the Country Homes in Barangay Catbangen here where they operated the cybersex den.


Cagayan solon’s aide faces raps for peer's slay

By Charlie Lagasca

TUGUEGARAO CITY -- – Murder charges are being readied against an aide of Cagayan third district Rep. Randolph Ting for the Dec. 10 slay of a colleague in this city, Cagayan’s capital.

Supt. Pedro Martires, city police director, identified the suspect as Victorino Mabatan, 50, of this city’s Buntun village, whom authorities held for the shooting to death of Michael Panaligan, 36 that night.

The suspect and the victim, were both aides of Ting, had a personal grudge over the latter’s reportedly having a relationship with the former’s daughter.

“A murder case is now set for filing before the local prosecutor’s office,” Martires said.

According to investigations, Martires said the victim was driving his motorcycle when he was waylaid by the suspect along the boundary of the city’s barangays Buntun and Cataggaman, hitting the former on the right chest with a single Cal.38 bullet.

Panaligan was pronounced dead on arrival at the nearby Catholic Church-run Saint Paul Hospital due to the gunshot wound.

“The suspect seemed to have been waiting for the victim to pass by,” Martires said.

The suspect was reportedly harboring ill feelings against the victim for having an alleged relationship with his daughter although the latter was already married.

Reports said the suspect’s daughter, with whom Panaligan was allegedly having an affair, even saw him being gunned down by her father.

The incident came at a time while a gun ban was imposed throughout Cagayan following the failed slay on Ting’s father, Mayor Delfin Ting in front of the family-owned Hotel Delfino along the city’s downtown on Nov. 15.


$4-M power plant opens in Nueva Vizcaya

By Charlie Lagasca

SOLANO, Nueva Vizcaya– An ecologically friendly mini- hydropower plant, the first in Cagayan Valley, was recently switched on, but without the presence of President Aquino who was expected to grace the event.

The $4-million Commonal-Uddiawan mini hydropower plant in mountainous Commonal village here was constructed by the US firm Smith Bell Mini Hydro Corp. in partnership with Japan’s MGL Power.

About two weeks before the inauguration, the state-run Philippine Information Agency here said the President was expected to lead the event.

Thousands of upland villagers, who even had to hike for hours, trooped to the plant site to have a glimpse of the President but went home disappointed due to his no show.

Top provincial officials like Rep. Carlos Padilla, Gov. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma and Vice Gov. Jose Gambito also failed to show up in the event reportedly due to previous commitments.

The plant, whose construction started in April last year, is capable of generating a maximum of 1.8 megawatts of power per hour or about 10 percent of the total electricity needs of the province.

The province, together with the rest of northern Luzon, depends mainly on power generated by the three-decades-old Magat Dam hydropower plant at the Isabela-Ifugao border.

Once in full operation, the mini hydro plant is expected to help meet the increasing demand for power of the province through the Nueva Vizcaya Electric Coop.

The plant harnesses the renewable hydropower potential of Bintawan River to generate electricity without causing severe environmental impact.

The plant delivered its first generated power to Nuvelco last Oct. 26, Smith Bell president Knud Hedeager said in a statement issued through the PIA here.


Man arrested in slay of Abra village chief

BANGUED, Abra – Police arrested a suspect who shot dead a village chief here and wounded his treasurer Wednesday morning, police said.

Police identified the suspect as Redgie Timbreza who was nabbed four hours after the shooting in his house in Dolores town.

Another suspect, Rodel Pilor, is still being hunted.

Bong Medina, 35, chairman of Barangay Macray and village treasurer Joseph Barbero, 31, were at a waiting shed with other residents when armed men fired at them.

Senior Supt. Armando Laguiwid, Abra police director, said Medina was shot below the navel and died at the Seares Memorial Hospital.

A bullet wounded Barbero in the back and is recuperating in the same hospital.


Warning out versus 33 crocs in Isabela rivers

CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela— Local officials and residents here raised concern over the serious threat to their safety posed by the 33 crocodiles that were able to get free from their rearing station in the coastal town of Divilacan at the height of super typhoon “Juan” which wrecked havoc in Northern Luzon last month.

The said crocodiles that are now allegedly in river systems of the province posing serious threat to safety of people swimming or working in the river systems.

From a total of 50 crocodiles being taken cared by the Buwaya Foundation in the coastal town of Divilacan, the said number dropped to 17 after the onslaught of super typhoon “Juan” which resulted in the overflowing of the rearing station thus carrying with the waters most of the crocodiles.

Concerned residents also aired their concern over the safety of their animals because there was an incident when a loose crocodile ate a dog drinking in one of the rivers in the coastal areas of the province.


Baguio to break carol singers world record

BAGUIO CITY -- Could thirteen be a lucky number for the city of Baguio as they set out to break the world record for the largest group of carol singers in a single venue?

Organizers believe so as the Christmas Rhythm heads towards its grand finale with thirteen competing school choirs who made it through the elimination rounds.

The choirs shall sing their hearts out at the Melvin Jones Grandstand on Dec. 22, starting at 5 p.m. for the glory of the world record and pride of their respective schools.

Four elementary schools vying for the championship in their division include University of Baguio Lab Elementary School (traditional and show choir); Baguio Central School (traditional and show choir); Don Mariano Marcos Elementary School (traditional choir); and Doña Aurora Elementary School (show choir).

Five high schools made it through the elimination rounds. These were BCNHS Main (traditional and show choir); BCNHS Doña Aurora and BCNHS Rizal Annex (both traditional); UB High School and BCNHS Roxas Annex (both show choirs).

Capping the list are four college choirs consisting of Saint Louis University School of Engineering and Architecture (traditional and show choir); University of Baguio (traditional and show choir); University of the Cordilleras (traditional); and Data Center College of the Philippines (show choir).

The grand finale will showcase the musicality of these thirteen talented Baguio school choirs as they infuse the crowd with the holiday spirit and take them to the record-breaking attempt for the greatest number of carol singers at a single venue.

Participating choirs will lead the audience through the singing of three well-known Christmas carols: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.

Following stringent requirements set by the Guinness World Records to account for the actual number of participants in the event, tickets to the Grand Finale have been floated to the public through all participating schools.

The tickets were imprinted with barcodes that will be scanned upon entry to immediately determine the actual number of participants as well as the educational institution represented.

Event organizer CreativeWorx has committed to donating ten high-end desktop computers to the school registering the largest number of participants pre-registered under their name.

Business establishments, non-government organizations and private benefactors were encouraged to support the schools of their choice through the purchase of tickets that will be credited in the name of the donee school in their bid to win the ten desktop computers.

Interested business and private sponsors may still make their requests for tickets by texting Josef at 0927-360-4235.


P36M marijuana burned in far Benguet plantation

KIBUNGAN, Benguet– At least P36 million worth of marijuana plants were destroyed by combined police operatives and anti-narcotics agents during a two-day marijuana eradication operation in 14 plantation sites located here in Barangay Tacadang here last Wednesday.

The 14 marijuana plantation established in Sitio Bulalacao and Mt. Oten, Tacadang here were set on fire, said Senior Supt. Roberto Quinto Soriano, Cordillera police deputy regional director for operations.

Soriano said the destroyed marijuana fields included 162,000 fully-grown plants, 39,500 seedlings and 18,000 stalks of dried marijuana leaves.

The discovery of the plantation sites was an offshoot of an extensive surveillance operation conducted by law enforcement agencies to reduce cultivation of marijuana in far flung areas in the province.

Tacadang is a remote barangay of this town located in the tri-boundaries of La Union, Benguet and Ilocos Sur and a known marijuana cultivation area.

Soriano said the cooperation of the public in reporting the presence of marijuana plantation sites in the province is instrumental in helping the campaign of the government in reducing the proliferation of the illegal hemp which is serving as a major source of livelihood of most residents living in the remote areas.

With the discovery of marijuana plantation sites in this town and the nearby towns of Kapangan and Bakun, the effort of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to eradicate the illegal hemp is in vain considering that more farmers prefer to plant marijuana as it commands a higher price in the market compared to the alternative crops being proposed for cultivation. -- Dexter See


Two men rescued off Cagayan waters

STA. ANA, Cagayan— Two fishermen who were reportedly missing after they went fishing on Dec. 9, were rescued by local residents in the coastal village of Patunungan, this town, on Dec. 11.

Senior Insp. Salvador Rivera, Sta. Ana town police chief, identified the rescued fishermen as Randel Corpuz and Christopher Rosete, both residents of Barangay Palawig, here.

Rivera said the victims left their home on Dec. 9 and went fishing along the shorelines of Sitio Sinago, Barangay Patunungan, this town.

While fishing, the victims’ boat was damaged and swept by the sudden big sea waves.

The victims reportedly used the debris of their destroyed boat while swimming towards the shore but they were noticed and rescued by their fellow fishermen.

Upon their rescue, Rivera said the victims were immediately brought to a hospital for treatment.
As this developed, Rivera warned fishermen in the town’s coastal areas not to venture into the sea at this time due to the occurrence of sudden change in weather conditions. -- Freddie Lazaro


5 % 4Ps beneficiaries delisted in Cordillera

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY – Around five percent beneficiaries of the national government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) have been delisted from receiving their benefits in the Cordillera because of alleged violations on the part of the poor families.

In the initial stage of the anti-poverty program where there were 25 towns covered by the conditional cash transfer program, at least five percent of the over 14,000 identified families were already removed from the list while 5.88 percent of the beneficiaries in the expansion program were also removed from the list.

Mary Ann Buclao, regional focal person for 4Ps of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Cordillera, said among reasons for delisting of beneficiaries from the conditional cash transfer program include no qualified dependents at the time of the implementation stage; transfer of beneficiaries from towns not covered by the anti-poverty program and inclusion of beneficiaries in inclusion errors of the program such as family income.

She said release of the benefits of the families is done on a quarterly basis after the conduct of the mandatory monitoring of the families to make sure that they comply with the conditions of the program.

However, Buclao said the system adapted by the agency in implementation of the program was not a perfect one but efforts were being exerted by project implementors to check compliance of families to conditions so they could utilize the funds to uplift their poor living conditions.

While there were failures among the beneficiaries, she revealed there were more families and their dependents who have succeeded in achieving some of the goals and objectives of the anti-poverty program.


Eight quakes hit Northern Luzon

By Freddie Lazaro and Charlie Lagasca

SINAIT, Ilocos Sur — A total of eight earthquakes rocked northern Luzon last week, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

Following the magnitude 5.1 earthquake that occurred on Monday at 8:24 a.m. some six kilometers southwest of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, seven more tremors happened, said Phivolcs researcher Julius Galdiano.

Almost simultaneously, a brownout engulfed the whole province following the tremor, which was estimated at a magnitude of from three to five with the strongest felt in Bayombong and nearby areas including this premier town and northern Bambang town around 8:50 a.m.

 Several electric posts and power transmission lines were slightly damaged by the tremor, causing the power outage, which is still being experienced as of press time yesterday.

Classes in all levels were temporarily suspended in Bayombong due to fear of another tremor as several aftershocks were felt after the first quake.

Galdiano said the second was a magnitude 3.4 earthquake at 8:28 a.m. with its epicenter at 9 km southwest of Bayombong.

The third happened at 10 a.m. and had a magnitude of 4.1. Its epicenter was 5 km southwest of Bayombong with a depth of 22 km.

The fourth earthquake happened at 12:26 p.m. with a magnitude of 4.1 and its epicenter at 87 km northwest of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.

The fifth was a magnitude 3.1 quake that occurred at 5:01 p.m. 118 kilometers north east of Laoag City.

The sixth was recorded at 8:04 p.m. and had a magnitude of 3.0 with its epicenter at 18 km southwest of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.

The seventh earthquake happened at 8:43 p.m. with a magnitude of 2.5, some 9 km southwest of Bayombong.

The eighth was a magnitude 4.0 tremor that happened at 10:05 p.m. with its epicenter at 42 km southwest of Lingayen, Pangasinan.

The eight earthquakes were not strong enough to cause any damage to property or casualties.

The tremor brought back to residents memories of July 16, 1990 when a 7.2-magnitude quake severely hit northern Luzon including this southern Cagayan Valley province where at least 40 people were buried alive in its aftershocks in its northern mountainous areas.

The said 1990 killer quakes were caused by movements in the Digdig fault line, which straddles from Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija to Benguet via Nueva Vizcaya.


Lightning kills coed, hurts pal

FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City – A female college student was killed while a companion was injured when lightning struck them amid a drizzle here at the Philippine Military Academy grounds Tuesday afternoon.

PMA authorities said Michelle Quicio and Rachelle Ventura, both students at the University of Baguio, were at the Relics Point taking photographs when lightning struck.

PMA spokesperson Capt. Lynnete Flores said PMA doctors tried to revive Quicio but failed.

She died 20 minutes after the incident.

Flores said Ventura is now in stable condition at the Fort del Pilar Station Hospital.

Flores said parents of the two students in Isabela were informed by the PMA about the accident.


Virus-hit Bulacan hog farm back in operation

MALOLOS CITY– A hog farm in Pandi town where over 6,000 pigs were culled in March last year due to a low pathogenic ebola reston virus is back in operation.

However, its current hog population is barely a fraction of what it used to have before the weeklong depopulation last year.

“They restarted their operation early this year,” said Dr. Voltaire Basinang, acting provincial veterinarian.

Dr. Rodante Parulan, municipal health officer of Pandi town, confirmed this, saying the virus seemed to have been eradicated.

Citing protocols set by the Bureau of Animal Industry and Department of Health, Basinang said it took the owners of Win farm more than six months to resume their operations after all their hogs were culled.

“The BAI and DOH required (the farm owners) to suspend operations for at least six months after the culling, and they extended it by starting their operation early this year,” Basinang said.


Liquor ban, curfew mulled

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The Provincial Board invited officials of the Police Provincial Office recently to discuss whether or not a resolution for the banning of liquor and imposition of curfew on motorcycle riders would deter so-called riding-in-tandem crimes in the province.

In their discussion with Supt. Rosueto Ricaforte, PPO director, board members were informed that between Sept, 8 and Dec. 8 this year, there had been 23 recorded shooting cases involving gunmen riding-in-tandem on a motorcycle.

Ricaforte said many, if not most, of those involved in these shootings had been under the influence of alcohol.

Pangasinan 6th District board member Alfonso Bince said such information is vital for the Provincial Board to decide how to craft a law for the province that will ban liquor and impose a curfew on motorcycle riders. -- LBI


Former Aurora exec faces raps for spread of worker’s porn pics

BALER, Aurora– A former head of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council was slapped with two criminal charges before the regional trial court here for allegedly spreading pornographic pictures of a former capitol employee taken some two years ago.

Charged in two separate information sheets filed by assistant provincial prosecutor Jonald Hernandez before RTC Branch 66 Judge Evelyn Turla was Jose Doringo, former chief of the PDCC, now known as the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Council.

Doringo was charged with violations of Republic Act 9995, or the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act, and RA 9262, or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act. -- MG


Gov't earmarks P643 M for CAR rehab projects

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY— The national government has earmarked P643 million for the Cordillera Administrative Region as its share from the Post “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” Short-Term Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project Fund (POPSTIRPF) for rehabilitation of areas hard hit by the typhoons.

Upon the endorsement of the Regional Development Council and Department of Public Works and Highways in the Cordillera, the POPSTIRPF for the region will be released in three tranches.

Engineer Edilberto Carabbacan, regional DPWH director, said an initial amount of P290 million was set to be released anytime for rehabilitation of roads and bridges.

According to Carabbacan, the second tranche is said to be P66 million to be utilized for various restoration works of flood control projects damaged by the typhoons.

Carabbacan added the third tranche of fund release amounting to P288 million will be utilized to bankroll the implementation of unfinished projects on roads and bridges which were not covered by the earlier released funds.

However, the DPWH-Cordillera will not have any hand in the implementation of the multi-million-peso projects considering that the same will be implemented by the agency’s central office in accordance to the earlier directive of national officials for transparency and accountability in bidding and implementation of vital infrastructure projects.

The RDC-Cordillera endorsed numerous requests from concerned national government agencies and local governments for funding requests from the national government so damaged infrastructure projects will be rehabilitated.

Considering that the roads, bridges, and flood control projects damaged by typhoons “Pepeng” and “Ondoy” were aggravated by the onslaught of super typhoon “Juan” last October, the earlier allocated funds for infrastructure projects were no longer enough to complete the projects, thus, the DPWH-Cordillera submitted additional estimates and programs of work to complete work middle of next year in time for the rainy season.

Based on initial estimates, Cordillera suffered a total of P1.3 billion worth of damage to infrastructure and agriculture due to the onslaught of “Ondoy” and “Pepeng” last year.

But the national government was only able to release P496 million to initially start the rehabilitation works before the May 10 elections which greatly affected completion of programmed works considering the implementation of the election ban.


Free TESDA courses offered in P’sinan

DAGUPAN CITY – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority encouraged Pangasinenses to enroll in the Training for Work Scholarship Program offered for free.

Provincial Director Francisco Jucar said they are now recruiting scholars for courses offered under the TWSP.

“Professionals and non-professionals 18 years old above and physically fit can enroll in the training for work program as long as they have time to complete the course which may run from 55 days to six weeks,” Jucar said during the Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine information Agency aired live over Radyo ng Bayan.

Courses offered in TESDA-accredited schools include commercial cooking, food service, front desk office, health care services, wielding, heavy equipment operation, and computer courses.
Jucar added that under this training program, TESDA and its accredited schools will help graduates of occupational titles find jobs.

“Anuman ang skills na natutunan, gawing building block, gawing puhunan upang makatulong sa pagpapaunlad ng kabuhayan at ng bayan natin,” Jucar said.

There are over 100 TESDA accredited schools in Pangasinan and almost 200 registered programs. -- PIA-Pangasinan


No lavish Christmas parties, DepEd warns Baguio schools

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY — A few days before Christmas, the Department of Education warned different schools here to have simple celebrations and not lavish parties in keeping with austerity measures being implemented nationwide.

DepEd Division of City Schools superintendent Ellen Donato, said while elementary and high school students and faculty must celebrate the spirit of Christmas before the long holiday break, parties must be kept simple and not hard on the budget of parents.

Donato said both private and public schools were already given advisorues to refrain from lavish spending during their parties.

The advisory stated that organizers of school parties must be mindful that parents of children may complain of excessive fees collected from them just to hold a Christmas party.

“We are avoiding the same thing from happening when parents flood our office with complaints on alleged excessive fees being collected from their children for the conduct of parties,” Donato said.

She said that even if members of the Parents-Teachers-Community Associations agree to a lavish party, the same is still subject to the approval of their respective school principals.

Moreover, Donato revealed teachers and principals are also not allowed to solicit for Christmas parties considering there is a standing order banning solicitations to be done by schools.
If ever there are some individuals who want to give or donate something to public schools for their parties or other purposes, she said it should be voluntary and not through solicitation.

Donato denounced some individuals and groups for using the spirit of Christmas and children to solicit from politicians and businessmen but the amount generated does not go to supposed beneficiaries and instead to pockets of erring individuals.


Enrile Jr. named 'caretaker' of Cagayan second district

TUGUEGARAO CITY -- Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has designated Cagayan first district Rep. Juan “Jack” Ponce-Enrile Jr. as “caretaker” of Cagayan province’s second congressional district pending the holding of a special election.

In a statement, Enrile said he received a call from Belmonte last week confirming the decision of House leaders to entrust to him the congressional affairs and concerns of the people in Cagayan’s second congressional district until such time that a special election could be held.

The position was left vacant with the demise last June 22 of second district Rep. Florencio Vargas due to a lingering illness.

Vargas, 79, a long-time mayor of Cagayan’s Abulug town, was on his third and final term.

“I just received a call from Speaker Belmonte who said that he has chosen me to be the official caretaker representing the second district of Cagayan until such time that a special election could be held,” Enrile said.

“I will endeavor to live up to the expectations of the people of Cagayan and I will do my best to serve both districts to the best of my ability. God bless us all,” he said.

His selection has long been expected, however, given the full backing of his provincemates, including third district Rep. Randolph Ting who earlier informed Belmonte that he was giving way to Enrile.

At a meeting last Dec. 6, the House committee on suffrage chaired by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga approved the passage of House Resolution 377 naming Enrile as caretaker and ad interim congressman for Cagayan’s second district.

Last Sept. 29, the Cagayan provincial board, in Resolution 111-2010, informed Belmonte and other House leaders of their preference for Enrile.

“I am humbled by the trust and confidence bestowed on me by my fellow Cagayanons and I assure them that their interests and welfare are always foremost on my mind,” Enrile said.

Cagayan’s second district comprises the towns of Abulug, Allacapan, Ballesteros, Calayan, Claveria, Lasam, Piat, Rizal, Sanchez Mira, Santa Praxedes, and Santo Niño.

Earlier, Enrile and Ting filed House Resolution No. 377 seeking a special election in the second congressional district following Vargas’ death a week before the opening of the 15th Congress.

While the House has yet to approve the resolution, former Cagayan governor Edgar Lara has expressed interest to run for the congressional seat.

“I am definitely running for representative of my district,” said Lara, who himself held the post for three consecutive terms before being elected governor for two terms.

Lara, who lost the governorship to former Alcala town mayor, now Gov. Alvaro Antonio, himself tried to wrest back his old congressional post in last May elections but landed second in a three-cornered fight won by Vargas. – Charlie Lagasca


Cops arrest wanted man in Aguilar town

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The Special Operations Group of the Police Provincial Office has intensified its campaign against most wanted persons and other criminals this Christmas season.

SOG operatives are now looking for long-wanted criminals and fugitives who may be sighted going home to their families or visiting their loved ones and friends this Yuletide season.

One such fugitive was Cesar P. Banaag, married, and a resident of Poblacion in Aguilar town, who was arrested by an SOG team led by Supt. Wilson Joseph when the suspect visited his family.

Banaag was wanted for alleged involvement in illegal drug trafficking, gun-running and gun-for-hire activities, said Joseph.


66% of gov't vehicles are smoke-belchers

BAGUIO CITY — Sixty six percent of government vehicles here are grossly violating the Clean Air Act through smoke belching.

The City Environment and Parks Management Office here bared this in a report to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, saying 47 out of 71 diesel-fed vehicles registered under national government agencies and local governments flagged down by the city’s Roadside Inspection, Testing and Monitoring Team failed the tests since smoke they emitted were way above standards.

Worse, the RITMT added all gasoline-fed government vehicles also failed the smoke emission test pursuant to the provisions of Ordinance No. 61, series of 2008 or the city’s version of the Celan Air Act.

Because of the poor outcome of the test results on government-owned vehicles, the city’s inspection team recommended strict maintenance of the vehicles, citing that line agencies and local governments should serve as examples to motorists in efforts to clean the city’s air. -- Dexter A. See


Strict load limit for Kennon urged

TUBA, Benguet— The Cordillera Administrative Region office of the Department of Public Works and Highways urged law enforcers to strictly implement the 10-ton load limit for motor vehicles plying the 34-km stretch of Kennon Road to prevent further damage to bridges and several critical roads.

Engineer Edilberto Carabbacan, regional DPWH director, said Kennon Road is fragile considering there are many areas which are still being repaired that could be damaged if they carry too much load from trucks travelling along the road to their destination.

Since Kennon Road was heavily damaged by the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake, the DPWH imposed a 10-ton load limit along the whole stretch of the road, except those given exemptions by the agency specifically those involved in sand and gravel hauling in the area, and the same has never been lifted since then.

However, several overloaded cargo trucks going to and coming from Baguio City and Benguet are still allowed to pass through the scenic zigzag road since it is the shortest route from the lowlands to the city and vice versa. -- Dexter See


House OK’s revised Baguio Charter on second reading

BAGUIO CITY – The House of Representatives has approved on second reading the proposed revision to the city’s century-old Charter so that pertinent rules and regulations will be in accordance with the times.

Upon the sponsorship of the House committee on local government, the House concluded plenary debates on the proposed revisions and set the same for third and final reading this week so it will be forwarded to the Senate for the passage of the mandatory counterpart bill.

Rep. Bernardo M. Vergara said highlights of the revised Baguio Charter include definition of its boundaries with other neighboring towns of Benguet, particularly Tuba, Itogon and La Trinidad, so that it will be able to retain its 57.5 square kilometer land area.

Moreover, the lawmaker said the award of alienable and disposable lands to qualified beneficiaries in the city’s 128 barangays will also be simplified because the same will be lodged with the local government unit after the identification and segregation of lands for public use.

According to Vergara, there is urgent need to award lands in the city to qualified beneficiaries so the city government will benefit from it through payment of taxes by qualified occupants and prevent the invasion of watershed and forest reservations by land speculators.

Vergara added the present system of awarding alienable and disposable lands to qualified residents through the townsite sales application and miscellaneous sales application is too bureaucratic which deprived people chance to own their occupied properties in the city.

Records show that for the past five years, Administrative Order 504 clearing committee chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources never met to decide on thousands of TSAs pending for disposal thereby depriving awardees chance to process ownership of their lands.

Considering that the bill is an important measure for local application, the lawmaker claimed the swift action of the House on the matter was an indication that the national government is also concerned about the plight of local governments to have greater autonomy as well as control of their resources to help enhance the development in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, who authored the proposed revision to the city’s century-old Charter in the 12, 13th and 14th Congress, cited lawmakers for considering the passage of local bills that promote local governance to empower them in rural development.



Cordillera cited for ‘best law enforcement council’
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The Cordillera Administrative Region has been adjudged to have the best Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (RLEEC) in the country.

Besting 16 other regions for the coveted award, the CAR-RLEEC was cited for its efforts to make the region a peaceful place despite existence of several stumbling blocks.

The RLECC, as a coordinating mechanism for all government agencies and local governments, has the role of formulating law enforcement policies, providing additional inputs and recommendations, and enabling the passage of important legislation for peace and order, economy and environment that affect not only the region but the entire country. -- Dexter A. See

Pamaskong Thera-free’ set for special children
BAGUIO CITY -- The Autism Society of the Philippines-Baguio Chapter in coordination with the City Social Welfare and Development Office will conduct “Pamaskong Thera-free here on Dec. 21-22.

A team from the University of the Philippines speech and physical therapy therapists and Special Education (SPED) staff will conduct free assessments and give individualized home programs for children with autism, ADD, ADHD, celebral palsy, Down Syndrome, hearing impairment and speech and language delays.

Parents are advised to bring their children to Home Sweet Home at the Gov. Pack Road, Baguio City on said dates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pre-registration will be at JET Bookstore along Session Road. Slots are only limited to first 200 registrants.

Priority will be given to the less fortunate members of the community whose children do not have regular therapy. -- Dianne Estino

DPWH told: Finish Mt Prov-Ilocos Sur bridge

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Provincial officials and residents of this landlocked province are urging the national government particularly the Dept. of Public Works and Highways to complete the long overdue bridge linking Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur, particularly the Aluling bridge located at Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.

They said this would improve accessibility to the Ilocos and Cordillera regions once the multi-billion road projects along the roadline will be completed.

The rehabilitation of the Mountain Province – Ilocos Sur road and the Benguet – Ilocos Sur road is underway while the Cervantes – Tagudin road is already concreted. -- Dexter See

No plastic bags in San Fabian
SAN FABIAN, Pangasinan– Goodbye plastic “sando” bags, hello “bayong” here in 2011.

The municipal council passed an ordinance authored by Councilor Andres Justino Abalos regulating the use and sale of plastic bags in the public market and other commercial establishments and promoting instead “bayong” and other bags made of indigenous materials.

“The unrelenting use and indiscriminate littering of these plastic bags will pose unimaginable problems leading to health risks, environmental degradation and destruction of flora and fauna,” Abalos said.

DRI warns public on fake Christmas lights
BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry here warned the public against proliferation of fake Christmas lights which could trigger explosions or fires.

The DTI urged the public to look for ICC stickers with serial number in buying Christmas lights to ensure safety and quality.

The DTI noted most defective Christmas lights which have no ICC certifications are being sold by sidewalk vendors. -- Dexter See

3 teens drown in Lingayen
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan– Three teenagers drowned while swimming in a beach here Dec. 11, two days after three minors also drowned in a fishpond in Bayambang town.

The new drowning victims were identified as Ana Margarita Tuazon, 16; Arcelyn Maalay, 12; and Manuel Gozon, 17, all residents of Sta. Cruz, Manila.

UB holds annual tennis competitions
The University of Baguio held its citywide annual games for table tennis Dec. 9 to 11 here with representatives from elementary and high schools.

A seminar on coaching and officiating was also held by the Fernando Rosa Bautista Foundation in the second day.

For elementary boys division, Area I came up as champion followed by Area III as 1st runner up with Area II as the 2nd runner up.

In the elementary girls division, Area II came up as champions followed by Area I then Area III. The team competition for high school boys and girls division had both the same results as Area I was proclaimed champion followed by Area II as 1strunner up then Area II as the 2nd runner up.

The individual competition for elementary boys was topped by Morie Versoza winning gold, Christian Quedado winning silver, and Alex Cruz and Maxim Braga winning the bronze awards.

For the elementary girls division Jane Carbonel won gold, Sheried Ugnasi won silver, and Jelene Mae Cagan and Christin Bango won bronze. Alfredo Quinoñes Jr. came up with the gold in the individual competition for high school boys followed by William Chaneller winning silver.

Kirby Caramat and Zoren Leel finished the event with the bronze award. Marjorie Ballesteros of the high school girls division won gold followed by Cathlyn Solano winning silver and was rounded up by Irine Queenie Amgao and Frances Elleanor Villanueva winning bronze.

The winners will compete in the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) games. -- Christian Jovic D. Carino

Adivay fest generates P2.4 million sales
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- A total of P2.423 M gross sales was generated here during the Adivay Festival Agro-Industrial trade fair at Barangay Wangal.

The festival which celebrated the 110th founding anniversary of Benguet, was also meant to showcase local products, promote tourism and generate income of provincial entrepreneurs.

According to engineer Leandro H. Gazmin, director of Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Service of the Department of Agriculture, Benguet is lucky to have good climate that is conducive to farming which resulted to good production.

He added good agricultural practices resulted to profits like during the trade fair.

Products sold ranged from fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, wood crafts, mine extracts, processed foods and accessories.

Gross sales generated from private exhibitors got the most with P1.604 million and sales from municipalities amounted to P824,502.38. -- Dianne Estino


‘Military violence and deception’


In the first week of December, the Ifugaos witnessed a truly unusual celebration of Human Rights Week. The 86th Infantry Battalion, perpetrator of numerous recent human rights violations in the province, snatched for itself a prominent role in the commemoration of this important occasion. It held its own sham celebration that insulted the intelligence of the Ifugaos.

While the people remembered the lives and contributions of revolutionary martyrs and other victims of human rights, the soldiers were busy covering up the crimes of the ruling classes that they serve. It was ironic that the military that has terrorized and suppressed the people to protect the interests of foreign and local corporations has now been ordered by the Aquino administration to take a prominent role in making Human Rights Week a fiesta.

The people have long been aware that the military uses deceptive means to cover up its actions of terrorizing and violence. It continually launches gimmicks like peace covenants, conscripts residents into the CAFGU, and brags about bogus victories in the name of peace.

Operating troops occupy schools and other public facilities within villages. Local residents, especially children, no longer feel safe in their homes and communities. The presence of troops had become a heavy burden to the people.

Soldiers use firewood and even tear down school walls for fuel, either because they are too lazy or too scared to gather firewood from the nearby forest. Local residents in Asipulo who participated in the Brigada Eskwela at the start of the school year found cellophane-wrapped feces strewn around the schoolyard by soldiers.

There have been reports of soldiers refusing to pay their debts in some stores, stealing chickens and rice, and extorting money from civilians. In many of their criminal acts, soldiers pretended to be NPA guerillas. But the people have not been fooled. The masses embrace the NPA because of the iron discipline of its Red fighters and reject the criminal, violent and deceptive military.

Similarly, the Aquino administration and its military cannot fool the national minorities of the Cordillera and the rest of the Filipino people. It may launch one gimmick after the other, but the people will remain acutely aware of the lack of social services especially for the marginalized national minorities in the hinterlands.

It cannot hide the government projects that expropriate ancestral lands and natural resources to sell to foreign and local big business interests. Several mining companies including Shipside Inc., a subsidiary of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation, Horizon Resources Corporation, an American entity, and Cordillera Exploration Company Inc. have standing Financial and Technical Assistance Application for mining operations in Ifugao.

When these corporations are allowed to operate, the people of Hungduan, Asipulo, Tinoc and Banaue will suffer the same fate as that of other Cordillera communities ruined by large scale mining: residents forced off their ancestral lands, denuded forests, polluted rivers, various diseases and exploited miners and mine employees. These realities that confront the Ifugaos cannot be hidden by the military’s sham celebration of Human Rights Week.

The Ifugaos are astute. They will never fall for the military’s deceptive gimmicks. The people remain unwavering in their belief in the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NPA and the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front. The revolutionary movement calls upon the people of Ifugao and the rest of the Filipinos to closely scrutinize and reject the gimmicks of the Aquino regime for it is only through a national democratic revolution that social justice and genuine peace could be achieved.

Remember the martyrs of the national democratic revolution!
Join the NPA and advance the protracted people’s war!

Ka Wigan Moncontad
Nona del Rosario Command
New People’s Army - Ifugao


Holiday blues


There are just are too many holidays in this country. Good for government and private sector workers, but bad for those in business particularly the owners. The former administration implemented “holiday economics” believing it would spur tourism and economic activity but then tourism found as only a minimal element in boosting economy.

Now, this new administration is trying to lure more job-generating investments to spur economic growth projecting a new team and that the country is open for business. But investors are watching and assessing how receptive the new government is to their suggestions.

One of these is to initiate changes in labor laws which business owners and investors say, are more in favor of workers. Employers for one, say there are undesirables who don’t perform well and even go against them, but still, the latter have government laws on their side.

Business owners want more leeway in management of erring workers like having them fired without lawsuits filed against them which are a waste of time and money. Business owners, even the small entrepreneurs, also want to set up businesses or projects which are not mired in government red tape and graft and corruption.

Last week, reports said the Joint Foreign Chambers unveiled a medium-term plan for attracting $7.5 billion in direct investment, presenting a bullish outlook for the Philippine economy.

They had several suggestions which were not new. One was that too many holidays deterred investment, forcing enterprises with low profit margins to cut jobs, close, or move into the underground economy.

Overtime pay adds to business costs and affects income projections. Businesses such as those that must meet delivery deadlines, cannot afford to suspend production during holidays. These enterprises suffer when new non-working holidays are declared just weeks or even days before the date.

As the study undertaken by the foreign chambers revealed, the country had 21 public holidays this year, compared to nine in Vietnam, 11 in Singapore and 12 in Taiwan.

Add Saturdays and Sundays and you have an additional 96 days plus the 21 and you have 117 holidays. Workers get paid double their salaries for working on working holidays and any honest-to-goodness small entrepreneur would have a hard time making ends meet and having to pay taxes with this setup.

Those in government are paid for not working during holidays with Juan de La Cruz footing the bill. Combine this with the unpredictability of the Philippine business environment and it is not hard to understand why this country is lagging behind most of its neighbors in foreign direct investment.

Businessmen are concerned about legislative proposals to add to the growing list of holidays, to honor heroes, children, families, farmers, fishermen, soldiers, human rights, Chinese Lunar New Year, significant religious days and yes -- pets.

A country open for business cannot always be on holiday. The government should pay attention to investors’ and business sector’s concerns. They are after all the economy’s shipmasters. You put them down and the economy suffers.


Decriminalizing prostitution

Alfred P. Dizon

BAGUIO CITY – While the cold Siberian breezes are blowing here, reports have it that quite a number of visitors – heterosexuals, homosexuals and even those who like it both ways, are coming up for nude male and female dancers in abundance in this city of twinkling lights.

To warm themselves, our bubwit says, visitors frequent nightspots featuring lewd shows along Naguillan, Marcos and Magsaysay roads.

Most of those who frequent gay bars reportedly come from La Union and Pangasinan. Some, if not most of them are professionals who want to have a good time without the searing eyes of neighbors and acquaintances back home.
A favorite is a bar located beside a funeral parlor along Naguillan. While the aggrieved wail in grief at the nearby building, the gays and the matronas wail in sheer delight as they watch naked macho dancers strut their wares in the decrepit establishment.

There are dime a dozen establishments which also cater to straight males in girlie bars featuring ladies who wear skimpy clothes at the early hours of the show. As the night progresses, the dancers’ apparel fall one at a time until there is nothing left to the imagination. In most establishments, dancers and GROS could be taken out for a romp – of course for a sizable fee which is reportedly shared with the pimp and the establishment owner.
Business is booming, my bubwit says, no thanks to cops who only “patrol” these establishments to get their “cut.” They reportedly order drinks and pulutan without paying. Of course, beautiful GROs are always by their side.

Some officials, we are told, are reportedly on the take, to keep silent and not take action. The proprietors, the girls and their pimps have become bolder. Characters of the underworld reportedly add spice to the show by selling shabu or marijuana to the dancers to make them shed of their inhibitions and make them bolder in their salacious performance.
Nowadays, girls as young as 16 have reportedly been recruited as dancers or GROs from far places like the Visayas or Bicol. But recruits could also come nearby. A mother who hails from La Trinidad, Benguet, told an acquaintance she found her teenage daughter dancing high with shabu in a seedy spot along Naguillan while the drunk and rowdy male crowd hooted. The daughter earlier ran away after being scolded by her parents. The crying mother brought her home with the promise never to chide her again.

If the prostitution business is booming in this city, according to obsevers, it is because of usual reasons like lack of education and livelihood among prostitutes and presence of government “protectors.” Of course, some of the ladies admit they love the job and the perks that go with it if they chance on a moneyed client.

Baguio is one among the many cities in the country where prostitution nowadays, is seemingly “legalized” with the tolerance of public officials and a public gone immune to the trade.
It is an interesting development that a female lawmaker filed a bill Thursday seeking the decriminalization of prostitution to curb abuse and exploitation of women lured into sex work.

Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap said the Revised Penal Code punishes women who engage in sexual intercourse for money, failing to address the criminal liability of those who lure them into prostitution and the poverty that forced them into sex work. Go after the pimps, not the prostitutes, her bill actually says.

Citing a study by the Philippine Commission on Women, she said there are around 500,000 sex workers in the Philippines, many of whom were lured into their profession by criminal syndicates.

Of the number, 100,000 are children. She believes the measure “could be a new approach in addressing the problem (of prostitution in the country.)”

“We should not view the prostitutes as the source of the problem of prostitution. We should instead run after those who lured them into this kind of business,” Yap said. House Bill 1706 seeks to help prostitutes by entitling them to medical services, counseling, and legal protection services.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Abante Mindanao party-list Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr. filed House Bill 1656, a measure that also seeks to decriminalize prostitution and provide victims with adequate protection.

The bill seeks to create the National Anti-Prostitution Council that will develop a program addressing prostitution. It also requires local government units to curb prostitution in their jurisdictions.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development has expressed support for the measure “to remove the stigma on prostitutes and favor the giving of options that will promote the victims’ economic well being.”

As to what the Roman Catholic Church bishops will say on the matter is another point of contention.


Impeaching the ‘midnight chief justice’

Perry Diaz

There was a time when the Supreme Court of the Philippines was treated like a “sacred cow,” all its decisions accepted as the gospel of righteousness and beyond reproach.

As the final arbiter of all constitutional issues and legal disputes, the Supreme Court was held in high esteem as the justices had demonstrated integrity, credibility, judicial independence, and superior quality of reasoning. With 15 justices debating the cases brought before them, it can be surmised that the collective opinion of a majority -- eight or more justices -- represents a sound, fair, and judicious resolution of the cases; thus, their rulings are deemed infallible.

The process by which all the justices participate in an iterative, interactive, and deliberative discussion ensures that their rulings would be consistent with the meaning as well as the spirit of the constitution.
The Supreme Court is divided into three divisions with five members each chaired by a senior justice. The chief justice chairs the First Division; the most senior associate justice chairs the Second Division; and the second most senior chairs the Third Division. A case may be heard by a division or, for major cases, en banc (the entire body).

When a petition is brought before the Supreme Court, it is raffled off to one of the justices using a bingo flask and the justice who is assigned the case is called ponente (Spanish for proponent of a motion). The ponente is responsible for studying and researching the case and writing the draft decision or ponencia.

After gathering all the facts and looking into the judicial merits of the case, the ponente presents all these before his or her peers and leads the discussion on the case. The other justices would then conduct their own research and draft their own arguments for or against the ponente’s ponencia.

However, there were times when the justices would just let the ponente do all the work, which is dangerous because the ponente may not have done his or her “homework” diligently and judiciously as in the case of a ponencia written by Justice Mariano del Castillo, which turned out to have been plagiarized in some parts.

There are other cases where the decisions of the Supreme Court were viewed with suspicion albeit accepted only because of the mindset that the Supreme Court is “supreme” and the final arbiter regardless of whether it was right or wrong.
In the past decade, there were three rulings that diminished the people’s trust and respect for the Supreme Court.

The first was the proclamation of then vice president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as president on January 20, 2001 by then Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. It was the understanding of the justices that Arroyo would be sworn in as “acting president” only since Joseph Estrada was still the president at that time.

As agreed, Davide was supposed to swear in Arroyo as “acting president” while Estrada was to take a leave of absence due to “health problems.” However, when Davide was administering Arroyo’s oath of office, he dropped the word “acting,” thus installing her as “president.”

Consequently, to cover the illegal act, the Supreme Court made a ruling that the proclamation of Arroyo was valid under the doctrine of “constructive resignation.” However, statutorily, this “doctrine” does not exist in Philippine law. In all reality, it was a judicial coup d’état backed by the military’s top brass who abandoned Estrada at the eleventh hour and switched their support to Arroyo. With that, the takeover of Arroyo wasfait accompli. That was the first trampling of the 1987 constitution.
The second trampling of the 1987 constitution was when the Supreme Court ruled that the President (i.e., Arroyo) could appoint the chief justice during the constitutional ban on “midnight appointments,” which was clearly and unequivocally stated in Section 15 Article VII of the constitution, to wit: “Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.” When the petitioners submitted a motion for reconsideration, the Supreme Court upheld its original ruling; thus, making it legal, final, and executory, which in effect arbitrarily amended the Philippine constitution.
The third trampling of the constitution was the Supreme Court’s recent decision declaring Aquino’s Executive Order No 1 -- which created the Truth Commission -- unconstitutional. By a 10-5 vote, the high court said, “The violation of the equal protection clause was the common ground in the opinions of the majority.” But what is strange – and seemingly anomalous — is that the Supreme Court, through its spokesperson Gleo Guerra, announced that the high court had voted to nullify Executive Order No. 1 before the ponente, Justice Jose Mendoza, wrote his ponencia.

So, where is the iterative, interactive, deliberative “process” required in crafting a majority decision that could withstand the scrutiny of the country’s legal minds? How can the justices intelligently arrive at a majority decision when all the prerequisite work of the ponente was not yet completed?
As soon as the controversial ruling came out, talks of impeachment against Corona started to circulate in Congress and in the Internet. Many congressmen allied with Aquino were infuriated by the Supreme Court’s issuance of a “status quo ante order” on the House of Representatives’ impeachment proceedings against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. Gutierrez was allegedly protecting Mike and Gloria Arroyo from prosecution on a multitude of corruption and bribery cases. Many believe that as long as Gutierrez – whose term ends on December 1, 2012 – remains as Ombudsman, she’s not going to prosecute the Arroyos.
The Aquino administration is expected to file a motion for reconsideration on the junking of Executive Order No. 1. However, as in the past, the “Arroyo Court” would most likely dismiss that motion.

In an act of defiance, the Supreme Court spokesperson Guerra said, “An impeachment complaint is a ‘nuclear option’ and should not be taken lightly.” She added, “The Court has clearly pointed out that it supports the campaign of the Aquino administration in the fight against graft and corruption, which should be done through legal means.” Huh? What could be more legal than a commission that seeks the truth?

Given the threat of a “nuclear option” against Corona, a constitutional crisis looms. For now, there is a standoff with Aquino advising his allies in Congress to stand down. But like they say, “Somebody’s gotta give” or all hell is going to break loose! (


Fleshing out the spirit

Ramon S. Dacawi

Now 13, Mark Anthony Viray still dreams of one day flying an airplane. Three years after he was diagnosed for Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes, the boy can still look up at the sound of engines buzzing in the sky.

Until when, his dad, his sister and his village – Barangay DPS here - are unsure. This much they’re sure of: It takes more than a village to heal a child and to sustain his dream.

That’s why they’re asking you – yes, you, the reader – to drop by the covered court of DPS Barangay this Tuesday evening. That’s when Bubut Olarte and his band of lawyers will sing the carols of the season in a concert for a cause four nights before Christmas Day.

It’s actually a variety show dubbed “A Second Chance at Life” – for Mark Anthony and his neighbor, 31-year old Laluz Nawal, who’s undergoing twice-a-week hemodialysis treatment for kidney failure.

That’s why the other folk bands and talents will also perform for free: Bow, Pedals and Necks; Seldom Seen (with March Fianza and Sammy Comiles); together with the University of Baguio Band, UB’s Singing Nurses, ballroom dancers of Endless Gym and Studio Two, the DPS Kids and The Awal grandchildren.

If you have to be somewhere on concert night, then drop by earlier for a P25 ticket or a P250 booklet from punong barangay Narcisa Laguitan and her barangay council. They’ll be grateful, knowing you’ll still be there Tuesday night in the spirit of the yuletide.

“A Second Chance….” was originally planned for Laluz, but when those who broached the idea of a fund drive learned of Mark Anthony’s own struggle for medical deliverance they immediately decided to have two concert beneficiaries.

It’s about misery needing company, but with a refreshing, upside twist. Mark Anthony and Laluz, the youngest child of the late Ibaloi lawyer Abundio Awal, have gone this far because there are people who believe this season’s message is for all seasons.

Laluz, the youngest of seven children, has been a diabetic since she was a child. She was diagnosed for kidney failure last January and began her thrice-a-week hemodialysis treatment thereafter.

That was when Mark Anthony had a relapse after a series of chemotherapy sessions on the first stage of a protracted treatment protocol that should be administered for three to five years.

The families of both patients had long been drained financially. Laluz and Mark Anthony have gone this far because Samaritans out there believe the message of Christmas is one for all seasons.

Among these gentle souls were karate students in southern Germany who, through their teacher, former world champion Julian Chees, established Shoshin, a foundation reaching out to ailing children. They bankrolled Mark Anthony’s initial chemotherapy and then the CT-Scans on his neck, chest and abdomen.

Among them were kids of Brent School who raised P7,500 for the boy who wants to fly a plane. Friends of international car racing champion Carlos Anton, a Brent alumnus, matched the amount.

The relapse, however, prompted Dr. Geneviewe Bandiwan, pediatric resident in charge of the Baguio General Hospital, to strengthen the treatment protocol. Mark Anthony has to be given chemotherapy drugs one day 1 and 15 every four weeks for six cycles. Total amount needed per day of chemotherapy is pegged at P18,600, something far beyond the comprehension of the kid’s father, Ernesto, an off-and-on taxi driver.

With tickets pegged at P25 each for this Tuesday evening concert, residents of DPS barangay understand the proceeds will hardly sustain the boy’s chemotherapy, and Laluz’s blood-cleansing sessions.

Still, they hope the event would open greater opportunities for support from people out there who are looking for ways of fleshing out the message of this season.

That’s why a friend who won’t be there on concert night bought 10 ticket booklets worth P2,500. He knows it isn’t much yet hopes it would help provide answers to questions these two young patients, together with their families, have all the right to ask. (e-mail: for comments).


Elusive justice

March Fianza

It captured the country’s attention. I cannot help but make my own comments on recent developments in our Justice system that occupied news headlines.

Contrasting remarks about the acquittal of people accused in a bloodbath in a posh Paranaque neighborhood in 1991came out in the news.

The father and head of family whose wife and children were killed while he was living in the United States said his brood was murdered twice with the acquittal of the accused.

On the other hand, the relatives of the accused were thankful to the SC decision that described the lone witness’ testimony as incredible. At the first instance, her testimony was given weight by the trial court and that took away 15 years of the accused young men’s lives.

It looks fair and unfair at the same time. It looks fair after the acquittal but unfair too, since the first judgment sent them to jail for 15 long years, only to be released after court scrutiny found out that there was something wrong with the testimony of the witness.

For the victims in the massacre, they were expectant of a verdict favorable to them but it was the other way around. That is painful, not because the accused were not found guilty but that the perpetrators remain free.

In one TV teledyaryo program, the anchor person asked a lawyer employed in the SC why it takes so long for cases to be decided upon or dismissed. The lawyer said that such is the time frame for sensitive cases.

The man behind the microphone said: “some cases are even followed up and played up in media and yet the courts are taking so long. What more for cases that are not treated with publicity?”
But that fact, to me, is precisely the answer -- that even with publicity, the courts cannot go any faster. There are other factors that have to be considered aside from the skill of talented lawyers who can really delay cases.

Questions in the media were asked why it took 15 years for the courts to discover that a witness was incredible. That too, according to the SC lawyer is within the process.

Such is the process of justice through the courts. Litigants and their counterparts are given the wide option to appeal decisions and have the freedom to hope for what they expect.

But if a decision is arrived at contrary to what is expected, the losing party should not take it against the justices, otherwise we should no longer waste time, effort and money by appealing our cases. And all decisions handed down by the first court will all be final.

And I believe everybody will agree that it will be very unforgivable if the court decides that persons who are wrongly accused are convicted or if persons who are guilty are acquitted, much less brought to court.
We do not have to look far. In our own backyard we have seen friends and close acquaintances who have been wrongly accused of things they never committed. Some of them even continued to serve prison terms.

I remember one time in the late 70s, city cops intentionally or by mistake picked up a neighbor who was later accused of pushing illegal drugs. His case was not satisfactorily heard in court.
The man in his early 20s spent five years in the city jail and another three years in Muntinlupa because he had no means to fight his captors. He died last Christmas without seeing justice.

There is no doubt that there are many more like him who were wrongly accused of crimes they did not commit. But what can we do? We are only human and even local court judges and Supreme Court justices commit mistakes. What we do not know is if these mistakes are intentional or not.

Merry Christmas to all. –


Condoms, condoms and a new year!

Hilarion “Abe” Pawid

Modes are changing with time. In a few weeks, a new year enters our lives and may probably be affected by changes as a result of new laws and doctrines set by governments and religious leaders. Hopefully any change will be for the better.

Let’s take the use of condoms and other forms of contraceptives that prevent conception. Half a century ago condoms were not displayed in the shelves of pharmacy stores. They were hidden but customers would successfully make a purchase with a hesitant whisper to sales ladies.

However, in the sides streets of Manila one need not go thru such charade as condoms of various sizes and colors were very visible to public view.

Today, condoms are openly displayed for sale and advertised in media over the opposition of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) who adhere to orthodox teachings on marriage and sexuality. And sadly, the street vendors of Manila lost an item to trade.

Next year, some P430 million worth of condoms and other forms of contraceptives will be distributed free. Despite heavy leaning and threats from the CPCP to Malacanang and members of both Houses of Congress the Reproductive Health (RH) bill is likely apt to pass as a population management tool.

The stand of the bicameral committee of Congress in approving the multi-million budget could have possibly been influenced by the liberal pronouncement of Pope Benedict XVI on the use of condoms as a means to prevent the spread of the dreaded Human Immuno Virus-Acquired Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS).

Governments the world over have adopted atypical attitude over the use of condoms as a means to reduce growing populations and the spread of HIV-AIDS.

In point of fact, Rome’s new doctrine has corroborated existing policies of other countries. It also upholds the position held by then health secretary Juan Flavier on the use of condoms. He was critically opposed by the CPCP including his candidacy for a senate seat. Flavier served the Senate for two terms.

Other predominantly Catholic countries in South America have liberal policies on family planning and population management. Brazil over the years distributes 200 million free condoms and has to a certain degree reduced its population growth.

Sweden made “unprotected sex” or having sex without the use of condom punishable. Considered a rich state, she is one of the least populated countries in the world.

Presently, the Philippines remains a poor country in the third world category that have a population of over 86 million with an annual growth rate of 1.8 percent. The figure is projected to double in 50 years time if the growth rate is not arrested.


Sagada folks: National laws autonomy obstacles

Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province -- National laws like Presidential Decree 705 and the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 were identified obstacles in attaining regional autonomy by participants here in the municipal consultation on regional autonomy conducted by the sub-committee on the drafting of the third organic act chaired by former Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey.

In the recent gathering attended by barangay and municipal officials and folks, Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) chair Jaime Dugao said there was hesitance in the approval of the proposed autonomy law due to issues like on control of natural resources.

Sagada Councilor Kapon Gomgom- o said PD 705 does not entitle people of the Cordillera, who live in forested areas, full control of their
natural resources.

PD 705 provides that lands 18 degrees in slope and above are considered owned by the State. Almost 90 percent of lands of the Cordillera are found on slope of this classification which practically means that the State can utilize covered lands in PD 705 anytime as the State deems so for forest development purposes.

The Mining Act of 1995 was also identified as one obstacle in the realization of autonomy. The Act provides that all mineral resources are owned by the State and their exploration, development and utilization shall be under its full control and supervision.

This in effect negates the joint resolution adopted by officials of the towns of Sabangan, Bauko, and Tadian August this year, opposing the application for mining exploration by the Cordillera Exploration Inc, Gomgom-o said.

The Mining Act of 1995 is currently exercised in the act of the Mineral and Geo Sciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources ignoring any Local Government Unit stand opposing mining explorations and operations.

In the light of this DENR order, it upholds provisions of related mining laws amidst ordinances and resolutions issued by LGUs imposing a moratorium on large-scale mining operations in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

Besides, the Supreme Court ruled the constitutionality of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 upholding foreign mining companies with 100 percent capital to be granted Financial Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAA) despite a constitutional provision that foreign companies can only operate in the Philippines with 60-40 percent equity.

Odsey noted an exception to the rule may be applied here where control of natural resources vis-a-vis national laws may be applied in an autonomous region of the Cordillera.

But he said free prior and informed consent (FPIC) provision of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) can be a powerful provision in IPs asserting their rights over their natural resources. This, after Patrick Pooten asked what mining permits will the proposed function of the regional governor of the Cordillera Autonomous Region issue if
the people are not in favor of mining operations.

The IPRA defines free and prior, informed consent as ‘the consensus of all members of the indigenous cultural communities to be determined in accordance with their respective customary laws and practices, free from any external manipulation, interference, coercion and obtained after fully disclosing the intent and scope of the activity, in a language and process understandable to the community.”

Further responding to Pooten’s query, Odsey also noted that laws being written in the positive shall be incorporated in the preamble or declaration of principles in the proposed organic act, as to natural resources being in the control of the Cordillera people.


Gross national negligence

Ike Señeres

It was my first time last week to see the esteros in Manila and to say that I was shocked with what I saw is an understatement. I was fortunate to be invited by Ms. Gina Lopez along with a delegation from the Corinthian Coffee Clutch, a volunteer think tank that has now adopted the name ISIP BAYAN. Ms. Lopez wanted to meet some urban planners from our group, and so we went, along with some of our members who are experts in waste management and community organization.

To go direct to the point, what I saw was clearly the result of gross national negligence, and I say that because the degradation of the environment in that area is not just the fault of the government, but of everyone who lives in this metropolis, everyone who produces wastes as a result of consumption, wastes that are not properly disposed of as it should be.

I realized however that the problem is not just waste disposal, but the bigger problem it seems is the violation of river easement laws that were completely ignored by the long parade of local government officials who were supposed to implement these laws. Immediately I realized that the problem is political, because that is the only way to explain the absence of political wills that should have been there in the first place.

Ms. Lopez is correct in saying that not unless we clean the esteros that are feeding it, we could not clean the Pasig River, and not unless we clean the Pasig River, we could not clean the Manila Bay too. To that, I will add that not unless we clean the watersheds in the mountains, we could not clean the Laguna de Bay too, and not unless we clean the Laguna de Bay, we could not clean the Pasig River.

In most other countries, the richest people live in the waterfront communities, and that is because the views from that vantage are spectacular. In contrast, here in the Philippines, the poorest among the poor live on the easements of the rivers, and there is nothing spectacular about the congestion and pollution that is caused by the overpopulation of these waterfronts.

As I listened to Ms. Lopez, I understood right away what she is trying to do. By being able to succeed in the cleanup of the smaller waterfronts and waterways, she is laying the groundwork for the political will to grow as a groundswell, after the people in the metropolis could see that if we could succeed in cleaning the smaller parts of the ecosystem, we could then believe that we could clean the bigger ecosystem as well. The good news is, she is already succeeding and many people are already getting convinced that it could be done.

Beauty is one thing, safety is another. Ms. Lopez is trying to beautify the esteros and the Pasig River on one hand, but it is easy to see from what she is doing that it is going to be the safety of the people in the metropolis that will be the ultimate result of her work. It is not too difficult to understand that, because the floods have already shown us what the congested waterways could do to our environment.

It took many years of neglect to bring the Pasig River and its tributaries to its present state of decay. Certainly, it will also take many years to bring it back to its former glory, but that could only happen if everyone who contributed to its destruction would move towards its restoration. To do that, multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary efforts would have to be undertaken, and that too would take a lot of political will.

It is obvious that in order to clear the easements along the waterways, the illegal settlers would have to be relocated. Ms. Lopez believes that it is a better option to just move them to move them to more decent dwellings nearby, rather than move them to far places that would take them away from their livelihood. This is the reason why she needs the urban planners, and ISIP BAYAN is committed towards helping her in that task.

In the final analysis, it is going to be the combination of good environment, shelter and livelihood programs that will bring lasting solutions to the problem as defined. Aside from that however, I see the need to also bring in good education and health programs, and ISIP BAYAN is going to help with that too. I am sure that as we move on, we will see the need for more programs, but we will deal with that too. More than anything else, it is going to be the rollout of the good pilot experiences in the Pasig River project that will benefit the nation the most. The fact is, there are hundreds of other rivers that also have to be cleaned, but if we could clean the Pasig River, there is no reason why we could not clean all the other rivers.

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SC and Vizconde /SK elections

Grace Bandoy

BAGUIO CITY -- The acquittal of Webb and his gang from the brutal, unforgettable crime committed against the Vizcondes committed almost two decades ago was totally disheartening. Seeing Lauro Vizconde breaking down just tore my heart and I believe the hearts of millions of pinoys too.

As far as my generation is concerned (I’m 45 for those who are curious), that crime was probably our first taste of brutality and violence played in the media as it was highly covered in the media then. It was the Maguidanao Massacre of our time.

The country sympathized with the old but jolly-looking Lauro Vizconde. We all cried with him when he buried his family. And we cry with him still this time.

Even my six-year-old niece, who was totally clueless about what the fuss was all about, shed a tear when she saw lolo Lauro on TV wailing in agony. “Kawawa naman siya,” she said.

When the group of Webb, (spoiled, rich and bratty-looking kids), were convicted of the crime, it was some sort of victory for a lot of people. The idea of rich and influential people in our country not getting away with rape and murder was an ultimate triumph for the Filipinos (no matter how cute Hubert and some of his friends were before, hehehe).

That decision of the Supreme Court setting them free was a dream-crusher for me. But I still wish to have faith in our country’s justice system, ano na lang pong mangyayari kung pati ang mga korte natin kasing palpak ni Noynoy di ba?

Nagpapagaan na lang sa loob ko about all these is nawala ang pagka conyo ni Hubert Webb and hindi na siya papa! Taong kalye na siya magsalita ngayon, napansin ninyo? Hehehehe, at least prison humbled him yun na lang isipin natin.

I hope the Supreme Court made the right decision. But my heart just goes out to that old man -- Lauro Vizconde.
I have yet to see an Sangguniang Kabataan representative in the city council who has the guts and brains to battle it out with senior councilors. Hindi naman siguro makiki pagbattle, but at least someone who’s not afraid to express her thoughts and opinions about everything na pinag uusapan nila dun. Lalo na if she doesn’t agree to what the other councilors are saying.

Since time immemorial, ang ginawa lang po yata ng SK chairman sa city council ay umupo dun at magpa cute. And itaas ang kamay niya sa mga binobotong issues. There was never a “voice of the youth” there. Never!

And kung yung pa liga liga nila ang pinagmamayabang nilang ginawa nila, lokohin nila leleng nila! Millions ang budget ng SK na nasasayang lang sa pa liga na yan promise. Abolish the SK!

Nagiging source of corruption pa ho ang SK na ito sa ating lipunan kung pinapabayaan ang mga ‘youth’ na itong magpadikta and magpagamit sa senior politicians hindi po ba?!

Alam ninyo po sa city council, kung saan ang SK chairman ay umuupo bilang isang councilor, mahalaga po ang bawat pirma ng isang konsehal.

Ang mga laws and projects po ng ating city ay dumadaan po lagi sa kanilang lahat bago mapunta sa office ng mayor para sa kanyang final approval and pag sa sakatuparan ng inaprubahang item.

Pag ang isang project po ay gustong palusutin at i-implement ng lungsod natin, katakot takot na pangungumbinsi po ang kailangan mong gawin sa ating mga councilors para nila i-approve ito. Dito po allegedly ay nagkakaroon ng mga regaluhan and bigayan ng kung ano ano para po sa kanilang approval. Dito rin daw po nagkakaroon ng corruption.

Kaya ang bawat position po diyan ay pinaglalabanan ng halos patayan.Hindi po kaya ang pagkakapanalo ng ating bagong SK chairman, na anak ni dating councilor Leandro Yangot ay nabahiran rin ng impuwensiya buhat sa Timpuyog party?

God, hindi naman po sana di po ba? Sana naman po ang ating bagong SK chairman eh may sariling isip and paninindigan na gawin ang alam niya for the good of the people of Baguio and hindi para sa kanilang mga sariling pangkabutihan lang.

Mukha naman pong smart ang young lady na ito pero sana nga eh hindi mukha lang…. Peace!


Groups rally against illegal gambling in Baguio, Benguet: Jueteng full blast in northern Luzon

>> Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BAGUIO CITY – Jueteng has returned in most northern Luzon provinces even as cause-oriented groups rallied here Monday against illegal gambling like jueteng which intensified in Benguet particularly the towns of La Trinidad, Buguias and Mankayan.

Sources said jueteng had been running for almost a month in most northern Luzon areas like Region 1 despite denials of government officials and police chiefs.

To date no police chief has yet been relieved in these areas under the “one strike policy” of the Philippine National Police.

The policy mandates any police chief found remiss in his duties for jueteng operations under his turf would be relieved.

In Baguio, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, United Methodist Church and students marched down Session Road to City Hall Monday to press officials to stop illegal gambling.

Rallyists said they were opposing rampant gambling – legal or illegal -- in Baguio and Benguet like jueteng, lotto, bingo, tong-it, jai-Alai among others.

“Gambling is not only prohibited by the law but it is also prohibited by the law of God," said Braulio Yaranon, former city mayor and judge who joined the rallyists.

After Yaranon’s speech, Catholic bishop Bishop Carlito Cenzon said the rally was done for everyone especially for young people.

He noted placards written by protesters like: “We who made gambling, we who’ll stop it.” Others: “Gambling is a sin to God, it makes life miserable” and “In gambling everybody loses.”

City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said everyone that they should listen to what the pastor and the bishop said. “We should join hands to support the task force against illegal gambling.”

Archbishop Oscar Cruz earlier dared President Aquino to totally stop jueteng in the country which he said, is now rampant in Region 1

Cruz, who chairs the Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng (People’s Crusade Against Jueteng) said in his home base here it is not true that lotto is easing out jueteng.

There are frequent draws in jueteng – three times a day – compared to lotto’s three draws per week. He added it is also cheaper to bet on jueteng.

In Baguio for the past weeks, jueteng operators resurrected the illegal numbers game by holding draws near Malcolm Square at the central business district at the foot of Session Road.

The operators claimed it was bingo, but members of Task Force Jupiter raided the area Tuesday and found no bingo materials.

Task force members instead found jueteng paraphernalia. Police said, if the games were indeed bingo, then there should have been a lot of people at the draw venue.

The group, which was formed by Mayor to sop illegal gambling in the city, arrested three jueteng revisadores who said they were from Batangas.

Sources said jueteng collectors known as kubradores got bets from nearby barangays.

At the Ilocos Region police headquarters in Camp Florendo, San Fernando City, La Union, Supt. Orlando Mabutas, regional police director, has not yet confirmed if indeed jueteng has returned in the region particularly Pangasinan.

It has been a month already since he first said he was still confirming whether jueteng is back in Pangasinan or other parts of region 1.

He said if confirmed, police chiefs in areas where jueteng operates would be relieved in accordance with the one-strike policy.

In Pangasinan, sources said jueteng has returned in all six districts.

It is now business as usual for kubradors after a certain Orduna allegedly gave the go-signal for jueteng operators in the six districts to resume operations.

A certain “Boy Bata” allegedly operates jueteng in Binmaley, Lingayen, Bugallon and San Fabian towns and Dagupan City.

A certain Mallorca reportedly operates in Bayambang, Malasiqui, Mangaldan, Manaoag and Mapandan towns.

Another jueteng operator identified as a certain Co reportedly operates in the fifth district.

In the sixth district, a certain Marlon is reportedly the jueteng boss.

In Aguilar, Mangatarem, Urbiztondo and Basista towns, jueteng is reportedly under a certain Sison.

A certain Bebot is reportedly the operator in Villasis, Sto. Tomas, Alcala, Bautista and Carmen towns.

In the past, these operators were supposedly the ones behind jueteng in the province.

According to sources, daily jueteng bets in the six districts of Pangasinan reach P10 million but the amount could become higher with the yuletide season.

Despite these, provincial police director Senior Supt. Rosueto Ricaforte told local newsmen, “There is no jueteng in Pangasinan.”

Ricaforte earlier said those collecting bets were from neighboring towns of Pangasinan where there was small town lottery. -- With reports from Genevieve Pacheco, Jerry Padilla, Jennelyn Mondejar and Armand Tamaray


Councilor seeks probe on Baguio snow show

BAGUIO CITY – A city councilor is pushing a probe on what went wrong in the much-advertised “snow show” that got criticisms instead of boosting local tourism.“We want to know the lapses,” said Councilor Eduardo Bilog Jr., who chairs the city council’s committee on public order and safety.

Even City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said he was disappointed with the “snow show.”

He said the project needed a second look as it has caught national attention as “snow-fake.”

About 50,000 people gathered on Session Road night of Dec. 4 for the launch of the “snow show.”

But boos greeted the event as instead of ice flakes, seven snowmaking machines simply churned out soap suds – at a cost of P400,000.

Bilog’s fellow councilor Elmer Datuin, who chairs the city council’s tourism committee which spearheaded the event, said the event was a success.


P1-million reward out in mayor's slay attempt

TUGUEGARAO CITY – A P1-million cash reward awaits anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators of last month’s slay attempt on City Mayor Delfin Ting.

Vice Mayor Danilo Baccay, however, said the reward did not come from the city coffers, but offered by a concerned citizen who wanted anonymity.

“The donor, who asked not to be identified, expressed concern not only for Mayor Ting, but also for the peace and order situation of the city,” he said.

Baccay is the presiding officer of the city council which earlier passed a resolution condemning the slay attempt on Ting.

Ting was shot with a Cal. 22 pistol last Nov. 15 in front of the family-owned Hotel Delfino in downtown Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan.

Ting, who turned 72 Wednesday, returned to work last week following an operation on his cheek where a Cal. 22 bullet was embedded.

Ting’s son, Cagayan third district Rep. Randolph Ting, believes that the attempt on the life of his father had something to do with politics.

Chief Supt. Francisco Villaroman, Cagayan Valley police director, said the reward could help them eventually unmask the gunman and the mastermind in the attack. – Charlie Lagasca


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