3 die in northern Luzon poll attacks

>> Monday, April 26, 2010

By Dexter A. See and Freddie Lazaro

A staunch political supporter of the Marcoses in Ilocos Norte, a mayoral bet’s bodyguard in Pangasinan and a civilian were killed in two politically-related attacks last week, police said.

Police reported Marcos loyalist Andres Peralta was killed in a broad daylight ambush in the mountain village of Macayepyep in Banna, Ilocos Norte afternoon of April 18.

Peralta, a political coordinator of former congresswoman Imee Marcos who is now running for governor in Ilocos Norte, was a resident of Barangay Poblacion, Nueva Era, Ilocos Norte.

Probers said Peralta was driving through Barangay Macyepyep after coming from a cockpit arena at 5 p.m. when unidentified gunmen shot at his owner-type jeep.

He succumbed to multiple bullet wounds in the body and investigators theorized the attack was politically motivated.

Bullet casings for a .45-caliber pistol were found at the scene of the ambush.

Meanwhile, a bodyguard of San Manuel mayoral bet and retired Vice Admiral Virgilio Q. Marcelo was killed in a similar ambush in Barangay Gueset in San Manuel, Pangasinan.

PO1 Sherwin Mamasing of the San Manuel Police Station identified the victim as Romero Gorospe, 40, an incumbent president of the Narra Tricycle Driver-Operators Association and resident of Barangay Narra, same town.

Mamasing said Gorospe had just attended a wedding and was driving home when his van was shot at by unidentified gunmen tailing him aboard a motorcycle.

When the gunmen hit Gorospe and knocked him unconscious, the victim lost control of the van and rammed into a certain Rosalina Cali, a visitor in the town who was then crossing the street.
Cali died on the spot, same as Gorospe, said Mamasing.

The Scene of the Crime Operation team lifted six bullet casings and a deformed slug of a .45-caliber pistol.

Investigators were mum on the motive in the attack but local observers believe the ambush was politically motivated.


PRC uncovers fake professionals

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY — Seven professionals, some of them handling sensitive positions in government schools and hospitals, were found by the Cordillera office of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) here as having alleged fake licenses.

The discovery was made with the full implementation of the on-line verification of eligibility system (OVES), which was put in place to strengthen the national government’s effort to rid the bureaucracy and the private sector of fake professionals.

OVES is a paper-less transaction with the PRC to ascertain whether or not a professional handling a license is legitimate based on the PRC’s list of professionals.

Among the fake professionals, two were found in the Cordillera while the rest were in the Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley.

Teofilo Gaius Sison, regional director of the PRC Baguio regional office, said the fake professionals included three teachers, a nutritionist and dietician, a registered nurse, a medical technologist and a midwife.

According to Sison, appropriate charges of falsification of public documents have already been filed against the fake professionals and they have already been reportedly discharged from the government and private offices they are working during first quarter of this year.

OVES provides an immediate verification of the eligibility of a certain professional in less than two minutes. It will be implemented in other PRC regional offices in the country once its merit is verified.

Because of the successful implementation of the OVES in the region, Sison said the agency will launch the OVES in its satellite office in San Fernando City, La Union in partnership with the Region I offices of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Civil Service Commission.

The PRC official warned professionals who were able to secure their licenses through illegal means that their days are now counted because of the OVES.

He encouraged all private and public employers to first validate the licenses of their workers and their prospective applicants with the agency to ascertain that they are legitimate professionals.

Aside from facing charges of falsification of public documents, the fake professionals have already lost their employment which they had for several decades as well as the forfeiture of their benefits and privileges with their private and public employers.

Sison expects the agency to discover more fake professionals in Northern Luzon in the coming months once the OVES is put in place in the Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley.


SC affirms former Agoo mayor guilty in loan scam

AGOO, La Union -- The Supreme Court recently affirmed a Court of Appeals decision finding ex-mayor Eufranio Eriguel of Agoo, erstwhile candidate for the second congressional district of La Union, culpable for abuse of public trust and authority and personally liable for payments to loans for an Agoo public loan scam when he was still mayor of the town.

The SC, in a Feb.1 ruling, said Eriguel, together with his Sangguniang Bayan then, used municipal properties as collaterals for loans without authority for a development which saw the destruction of time-honored landmarks in the town.

The estimated 38 million-peso loan was previously charged by Eriguel and his SB members to the municipality during his incumbency as mayor of Agoo from 2004-2007.

Court records showed the loan ballooned to an estimated P60 million. In affirming the CA decision the SC ruled Eriguel and his board are required to assume the burden of payment for in their personal capacities.

The development remains a property of the people of Agoo, having been confiscated in favor of the public by decision of the courts.

The case is considered a “landmark” decision since it penalizes abusive municipal officials even beyond their terms.

The existence of the development in its present form did not render the decision moot and academic, lawyers here said.

The decision citing that a later municipal council passage of an empowering bill (passed under the term of Eriguel’s wife as mayor) reclassifying the property as alienable could not right the wrong that had been committed.

The conviction stemmed from a municipal property, known as Imelda Park among the locals, considered “beyond the commerce of man.”

Lawyer Pablo Olarte, a former three-term mayor of Agoo now running for the La Union provincial board, said Eriguel and his board made the loans without proper authority from the people of the town as the rightful owners of the property.


P5.5-M marijuana seized in Benguet

By Dexter A. See

KIBUNGAN, Benguet – Drug dealers eluded arrest but abandoned around P5.5 million worth of marijuana bricks during a buy-bust operation in Barangay Mocgao here last week.

Chief Supt. Samuel B. Diciano, deputy regional director for administration of Cordillera police, said the confiscated illegal hemp was packed in 19 small sacks and weighed close to 150 kilos.

Police and anti-narcotics operatives seized the dried marijuana leaves in brick form but failed to arrest Jun Galate and Pacio Wan-aten, the two alleged dealers who abandoned the contraband after a gunshot rang out, apparently signaling that lawmen were in the area.

Diciano said the operatives had a difficult time cornering the suspects because the place of the handover of goods was a five-hour trek from the town proper here.

He said the suspects must have had a lookout, who spotted the operatives from the distance and signaled the suspects to leave the area.


6 charged for slay try on Abra bet

BANGUED, Abra – Police filed Tuesday charges of multiple attempted and frustrated murder and gun ban violation against six suspects in the failed ambush of an Abra mayoral bet last April 11.

Charged were brothers Pepe, Francisco and Paul Bodonia; Bobot Gonzales, Harold Quemerista, and Jojo Jacinto.

Chief Supt. Villamor Bumanlag, Cordillera police director, said they have witnesses who pointed to the six suspects as behind the failed ambush of Ryan Luna, who is running for mayor of Bangued.

Bumanlag said they are investigating reports that the suspects, all still at large, were bodyguards of a former mayor and that they were hired by an incumbent mayor.


Supreme Court affirms church right to disputed lot

By Gina Dizon

SABANGAN, Mountain Province -- It’s final. The Supreme Court ruled that the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP) is the lawful possessor of the lot earlier locating Peter’s Church here in Barangay Lengey.

This, following the motion for reconsideration filed by the Solicitor-General seeking the reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision last Dec. 15, 2009.

The highest court of the land earlier affirmed that the Church is the lawful possessor of the land on which St. Peter’s Church once stood; and that the Mountain Province district engineer and private contractor illegally intruded into the property in 2005, demolished the church building and constructed a gymnasium.

The Supreme Court in its Feb. 24, 2010 resolution declared that no further motions shall be entertained in the case and directed entry of final judgment.

In their latest decision, the SC declared the evidence of EDNP “clearly shows how it came to possess the lot in question.

It acquired the land through a deed of donation that Pedro Compalas Aglipay executed in favor of EDNP’s predecessor- in-interest, the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

The EDNP, the SC ruled, has long declared the land in its name for tax purposes. And it continued to use the land from 1960 to the time the suit was filed, as evidenced by the baptismal records it kept, its register of activities, as well as the affidavits of witnesses.

While the property was admittedly also being used as a public playground, a market place, and a parking lot, this did not make the people of Barangay Poblacion the owners of the land.

Besides such additional uses are not inconsistent with EDNP’s claim of ownership since the Episcopal Church in the Philippines almost always opened its lands to public access and use.”
The congregation of St Peter’s Church earlier consistently opposed the public gymnasium built by the district office of Mountain Province-Department of Public Works and Highways.

The gymnasium project was funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of the late Congressman Victor Dominguez.

The EDNP forwarded a complaint for forcible entry to the Municipal Trial Court of Sabangan-Bauko. The Municipal Court resolved the complaint in favor of the Church and ordered construction to stop, till the case reached the Supreme Court.


PMA: We will not be part of cheating, failure of elections

Liberal Party standard bearer Sen. Noynoy Aquino on Monday said members of various alumni classes of the Philippine Military Academy assured him they will not be part of any plot to cheat or ensure a failure of elections in May.

He said many of the PMA alumi class representatives, whom he met separately, all wanted to make sure the elections push through and will be clean and fair.

“They are one of the biggest stabilizing forces in the country. They are thinking what their role would be if a failure of election happens,” he said.

But Aquino stressed his meetings with the PMA officers, who were a mixed group retired and active officers, were in the context of a public servant listening to his constituents.

“It was an exchange of ideas. They were talking about an adequate and appropriate response. That was all. The point is this has to be discussed before anything happens,” he said.

The LP has already aired their concerns over the Comelec’s capability to fully implement the nationwide automation of the May polls.


Three angles eyed in slay of Cagayan mayor's daughter

GONZAGA, Cagayan – Police are considering three motives in the murder of the daughter of Gonzaga town Mayor Rosendo Abad.

Police in Cagayan’s Buguey town, where Dr. Rosefina Abad-Serrano was ambushed last April 13, said the murder could have been politically motivated, or she was mistaken for another target.
Cagayan police is also considering a robbery angle.

Serrano, 43, was the coordinator of her father’s re-election campaign. She was also the dean of the Cagayan State University.

Serrano was on her way to Gonzaga on board a passenger van when gunmen peppered the vehicle with bullets as it was passing along the national highway in Buguey’s Barangay Dalaya.

Police Chief Insp. Edward Guzman said the original assassination target could have been Buguey Councilor Antonio Tamargo, whose Starex van of the same color was following Serrano’s.

Tamargo, a relative of Cagayan vice gubernatorial candidate Harry Tamargo, had reportedly been receiving death threats after declaring his support for the candidacy of acting Buguey mayor Licerio Antiporda III.

Antiporda, who is running for Buguey mayor, is challenging Gasat Umayam who belongs to Harry’s party.

Cagayan Valley police chief Superintendent Roberto Damian said they have identified suspects but cannot divulge their identities until sufficient evidence linking them to the murder have been gathered. -- CL


Extensive health program pushed for Mt Province

SABANGAN, Mountain Province – Government programs, like those on health, should reach remote barangays in this landlocked province through the consolidated effort of concerned officials.

This was bared by congressional bet Jupiter “Jup” Dominguez who added the identification of beneficiaries of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation must be left out to the provincial and municipal social welfare and development offices to prevent the same from being used to advance the political ambitions of some greedy politicians.

According to him, the provision of health benefits to indigent people in the rural areas of the country is an institutionalized program of the government, thus, it is not a political initiative of provincial and municipal officials since it will always be implemented even without the hand of ambitious local officials.

If the interference of politicians to the identification of beneficiaries for the sponsored health program,

Dominguez said numerous indigent individuals will surely be covered by the program even if they have different political inclinations since health is a basic need of the people which must not be deprived from them.

The former mayor of this town will work for the expansion of maternal health care for the numerous rural health centers in the different barangays so that the maternal needs of the residents, especially those distant from the hospitals, will be given immediate attention in order to prevent and reduce the loss of lives due to complicated maternal health problems.

Dominguez said appropriate funding support must also be extended to the expansion of medical equipment and facilities to district and provincial hospitals so that the local health units will be able to attend to the health needs of the people instead of spending more just to seek immediate medical attention in bigger hospitals outside the province.

To ensure that people will have good health, the former local chief executive belies the national and local governments must be willing to invest in supporting the desire of rural communities to have sufficient sources of potable water in all the barangays of the province since water is one of the basic needs of people.

Another basic need of people in the far flung communities which must be given preferential attention by the government is the provision of cheaper medicines to the people, thus, the need to download the establishment of Botika ng Barangay stores to all the barangays so that residents will have easy access to cheaper medicines.

Dominguez cited appropriate representation and funding support must be given to ensure that cheaper medicines through the Botika ng Barangay will be enjoyed by the people of Mountain province, especially when they need them, thus, it will be done through responsible prioritization of social services without sacrificing infrastructure development. -- Dexter A. See


Dominguez calls for reform in use of barangay funds

By Gina Dizon

SABANGAN, Mountain Province – Congressional candidate and former national Local Government Leadership Awardee Jupiter Dominguez said in his platform that funds intended for barangay LGUs should be directly transmitted to barangay coffers.

These include development funds within barangay implementation, honoraria of the barangay officers including the barangay health workers and the Day Care teachers and National Agency fund support and Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF). Dominguez noted that funds covering those items ‘highly technical’ in nature including big buildings does not cover the proposed policy.

As it is now, barangay support funds are first transmitted to the municipal and provincial LGUs and national agencies before flowing to barangay accounts. Directly transmitting funds to barangay LGUs and eliminating a conduit link will result to faster delivery of services, Dominguez noted.
The above measure also minimizes red tape and corruption, he added.

Do we ensure that there will be no corruption here? Dominguez says corruption has been ingrained in the political system of the country, but measures can be done to prevent this. One, by installing monitoring systems in barangay, municipal, and provincial levels in government with the involvement of the community.

Stipends of Day Care teachers and barangay health workers are sourced from Municipal and Provincial LGU heavily dependent on the discretion of the local decision making bodies. In most cases, a monthly honorarium of a barangay Day Care Worker is barely enough to buy a cavan of rice. A Day Care teacher works for at least half day every working day and receives P1, 500 a month.

That is, unless the LGU will raise the allowance for barangay workers as exemplified by former Bontoc Vice mayor and current mayoral candidate Florence Taguiba in a municipal legislation which increased the honoraria of Day Care teachers in this capital town.

The absence of a fixed standard pay rate for barangay workers basically leaves them denied of a fair monthly allowance and incentives despite their work load.

Barangay health workers do a number of tasks which include assisting in the delivery of babies, sputum collection, conducting census and cooking during barangay occasions. They receive as low as P600 to P1, 500 for every three months.

In one recent gathering among barangay health workers from Cagubatan, Tadian, they forwarded that the equivalent cost of at least one cavan of rice per month is enough to pay for their services.

Dominguez noted that there is a need for a law to ensure defined allowances and incentives of barangay health workers in furtherance to a national law.

And how does the solon-candidate come up with proposed bills?

Jupiter Dominguez sees consultative governance as a way for proposed bills to find their way in Congress. Potential bills shall be sourced from Barangay, Municipal and Provincial LGUs which shall accordingly identify their concerns and priorities in their resolutions.

These shall then form basis for consideration by the Congressional representative in his proposed bills to be forwarded to Congress. Regular meetings shall be held with the solon. The Mountain Province congressional office shall also be sustained to facilitate concerns in the province, Dominguez added.


Group pushes orderly Abra elections despite harassment from pols

By Dexter A. See

BANGUED, Abra — The Abra Multi-Sectoral Group (AMSG) is doing its share in the campaign for a peaceful and orderly elections in this conflict-stricken province for the upcoming May 2010 synchronized and automated polls in the face of reported cases of harassment by politicians and their followers in some areas where there are intense political rivalries among candidates for various elective positions.

The AMSG decided recently to organize its own para-legal team to assist people in communities particularly victims of violence to document their experiences so these could be tackled in the proper forum and brought to the attention of concerned authorities for action before the situation heats up which could translate to more violent activities.

The organization of the independent para-legal group came in the heels of reports of politicians and their followers were harassing people particularly in the municipalities of Bangued and Tineg.

The AMSG said while there are victims who now have the guts to expose their experiences to the media, still, there is the need to document the cases otherwise these will not hold water in the courts when these are filed.

The para-legal training will equip the volunteers in the rigidities of documenting the cases as well as in following the requirements of court proceedings to thwart possibilities of the cases to be dismissed prior to filing or arraignment due to technical inequities.


Biz couple slams execs on ‘selective’ laws in Sagada

SAGADA, Mountain Province – A couple, who are known entrepreneurs from this world famous town, slammed the municipal government for alleged selective implementation of national and local laws, especially in securing building permits prior to construction of small or big structures.

The spouses Wilson and Narda Capuyan were surprised to receive a notice from the local government requiring them to first secure a building permit and a clearance from the Housing, Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to reportedly support the construction of their 2-bedroom cottage located within their declared property within the famous view deck at Kiltepan, which municipal earlier declared as a municipal park but the same was junked by the provincial board upon review.

To their surprise, the couple expresses disgust to know that they were only the ones that were issued such notice when there are numerous on-going constructions in the different parts of the town, including several structures owned by incumbent local officials.

As responsible citizens, the concerned entrepreneurs willfully complied with the notice and were willing to pay the necessary fees to be directly paid to the local government but such building permit was never issued up to the present.

Obviously, the move of the local government to require the couple to secure the necessary building permit and HLURB clearance, which are required only for subdivisions, is part of a grand design by local officials to harass the couple in order to give up their property which they bought from the Lam-en family to suit the personal interest of a top municipal official who want to control the property which is a potential tourist destination because of a clear view of the daily sunrise.

However, the Capuyan couple claimed they are the ones in possession of the appropriate documents stating that part of the property is under their name and they have willfully allowed the same to be used for free by the public over the past several decades just to allow the influx of foreign and domestic tourists who want to have a glimpse of the scenic sunrise.

If the municipal officials want to require building owners to secure the required building permits prior to the construction of new structures, the Capuyans claimed the same must be applicable to all and not for the local government to be selective, discriminatory and oppressive in the enforcement of such requirement so that everyone will be in the same footing because they recognize the spirit of the law that the same must be applicable to all.

According to them, the discrimination they are getting from the local officials of their hometown is not a reflection of the ability of incumbent politicians to efficiently and effectively manage the municipal government, thus, they are leaving the matter to the trend of the times who will eventually judge those who are seemingly discriminatory in the enforcement of national and local laws. -- Dexter A. See


Kids blamed for LU fire

SAN FERNANDO, La Union– A fire lasting nearly four hours, blamed on children playing with matches, gutted 20 commercial establishments and residential houses along the national highway in Barangay Sevilla here.

The fire started around 9:15 a.m. and was put under control at around 1 p.m. It reached the fifth alarm and caused heavy traffic on the city’s main roads.

Michael Ruiz, one of the displaced residents, said the fire started in a room of his house where his children, aged below six, allegedly toyed with matches, burning the foam of their bed.

“I was not around when the fire happened. My children and our maid were left at the house. They (children) allegedly played with matches,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz’s maid managed to bring the children out of the house but the fire swiftly spread to the adjoining houses and business establishments.

Fire damage was initially estimated at P15 million. No one was reported hurt in the blaze.
Mayor Pablo Ortega ordered the city’s social welfare and development office to assist the affected residents.


Forger in sign racket nabbed

BAGUIO CITY -- A suspected forger faking the signature of the chief nurse of Baguio General Hospital was arrested recently by operatives of the Station 7 police.

Apprehended was Renato Moreno Borbon, an alleged forger operating along Upper Mabini Street here for faking the clinical nurse signatures on the summary of cases of applicants for nursing examinations.

Upon the complaint of the Professional Regulation Commission and the Philippine Nurses Association, Cordillera regional police operatives set an entrapment operation on April 16.

It was led by SPO2 Jesse dela Cruz, SPO2 Ronaldo Trinidad and SPO1 Synzer Kapawen.
The suspect was caught receiving P50 after faking the signature of Elena Tampican, chief nurse of the BGH Medical Center.

Police also confiscated from Borbon various fake documents including diploma, transcripts of records, various certificates and different writing pens.

A forgery case was filed against him before the Office of the City Prosecutor.

That day, a long queue of students had lined up for Borbon’s services, prompting a professional nurse to report the matter to the PRC Baguio Regional Office.

The tipster claimed that Borbon was faking the signatures of chief nurses who were supposed to sign the summary of cases.

The SOC is a record of cases that nursing student completed to qualify for the Nursing Licensure Examination (NLE).

The PRC and the PNA requested for police assistance after receiving the complaint.

The PRC warned NLE applicants against submitting forged documents.

PRC regional director Teofilo Gaius Sison, Jr. said the agency checks authenticity of all documents submitted by applicants, including verification with schools and hospitals and handwriting/signature comparison with specimen signatures.

Applicants who submitted fraudulent signature are barred from taking the nursing examination.

If they had already passed the examination, their test papers would be cancelled, Sison said.
Or if they had already registered as a professional, their certificate of registration or license would be revoked and the professional IDs recalled.

Last year, a number of students who submitted fake Summary of Cases were disqualified from taking the examinations and charged with falsification of public documents.

They forged the signatures of various clinical instructors, clinical coordinators, nursing deans, and chief nurses.

The PRC, PNA and police authorities are continuing to monitor such illegal activities to uphold the integrity of the NLE with more than 10,000 applicants expected for the July 2010 examinations.

Illegal activities like forgery of public documents could be reported to PRC Baguio regional office at (074) 444-7603, 304-3080 and 304-3180 or e-mail prc.baguio@gmail.com.


Forger in sign racket nabbed

BAGUIO CITY -- A suspected forger faking the signature of the chief nurse of Baguio General Hospital was arrested recently by operatives of the Station 7 police.

Apprehended was Renato Moreno Borbon, an alleged forger operating along Upper Mabini Street here for faking the clinical nurse signatures on the summary of cases of applicants for nursing examinations.

Upon the complaint of the Professional Regulation Commission and the Philippine Nurses Association, Cordillera regional police operatives set an entrapment operation on April 16.

It was led by SPO2 Jesse dela Cruz, SPO2 Ronaldo Trinidad and SPO1 Synzer Kapawen.
The suspect was caught receiving P50 after faking the signature of Elena Tampican, chief nurse of the BGH Medical Center.

Police also confiscated from Borbon various fake documents including diploma, transcripts of records, various certificates and different writing pens.

A forgery case was filed against him before the Office of the City Prosecutor.

That day, a long queue of students had lined up for Borbon’s services, prompting a professional nurse to report the matter to the PRC Baguio Regional Office.

The tipster claimed that Borbon was faking the signatures of chief nurses who were supposed to sign the summary of cases.

The SOC is a record of cases that nursing student completed to qualify for the Nursing Licensure Examination (NLE).

The PRC and the PNA requested for police assistance after receiving the complaint.

The PRC warned NLE applicants against submitting forged documents.

PRC regional director Teofilo Gaius Sison, Jr. said the agency checks authenticity of all documents submitted by applicants, including verification with schools and hospitals and handwriting/signature comparison with specimen signatures.

Applicants who submitted fraudulent signature are barred from taking the nursing examination.

If they had already passed the examination, their test papers would be cancelled, Sison said.
Or if they had already registered as a professional, their certificate of registration or license would be revoked and the professional IDs recalled.

Last year, a number of students who submitted fake Summary of Cases were disqualified from taking the examinations and charged with falsification of public documents.

They forged the signatures of various clinical instructors, clinical coordinators, nursing deans, and chief nurses.

The PRC, PNA and police authorities are continuing to monitor such illegal activities to uphold the integrity of the NLE with more than 10,000 applicants expected for the July 2010 examinations.

Illegal activities like forgery of public documents could be reported to PRC Baguio regional office at (074) 444-7603, 304-3080 and 304-3180 or e-mail prc.baguio@gmail.com.


Suspect in Ilocos power co-op exec's slay arrested in Isabela

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya– One of the suspects in last year’s killing of a ranking official of the Ilocos Norte Electric Coop. was arrested Wednesday morning in the boarding house being rented by a mayoral candidate in an interior Isabela town.

Authorities identified the murder suspect as Noel Are-llano, who was tagged in the killing of INEC board president Lorenzo Rey Ruiz on Sept. 4 last year.

Chief Supt. Roberto Damian, Cagayan Valley police director, said Arellano, one of Ilocos Norte’s most wanted and reportedly a member of a gun-for-hire syndicate, had a pending warrant of arrest for Ruiz’s slay.

Isabela police arrested Arellano during an operation against illegal firearms in the boarding house of mayoral bet Renato Garcia in Barangay Bolinao, Santo Tomas town.

Garcia, a retired Parañaque City prosecutor, is running as an independent for the Santo Tomas mayoral post.

The owner of the house he was renting was identified as one Ruben Lorenzo.

Police said Arellano happened to be in the boarding house during the raid, although it was unclear what is his relationship was with Garcia or Lorenzo.

The raid yielded two M-653 rifles, two caliber .38 revolvers, a 9-mm pistol, a caliber .45 pistol, several magazines and live ammunition.

It was covered by a search warrant issued by Judge Isaac de Alban of Ilagan Regional Trial Court Branch 27.

Police were still checking who owned the illegal firearms.

Besides Arellano, other suspects in Ruiz’s killing are Saturnino Pagaling and Victor Cajudoy, now both in the custody of the Ilocos Norte police.

Another suspect, Juanito Ancheta, was killed in a shootout with Ruiz’s aides.

Ruiz, 57, was reportedly intending to run for mayor of Dingras, Ilocos Norte against incumbent Mayor Marynette Gamboa when he was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men at the INEC substation compound in Currimao town, also in Ilocos Norte.
Reports said Ruiz was also set to run for re-election in the INEC board against Gamboa’s mother Elsie when he was killed in September last year, a month before the scheduled INEC poll -- CL.


Actor leads raids; P16.5million fake CDs seized

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY — At least P16.5 million worth of pirated compact discs (CDs) were sized by combined police operatives and elements of the Optical Media Board headed by OMB chairman and actor Ronnie Rickets from hundreds of sidewalk vendors at the central business district area here during a surprise operation last week.

The confiscated CDs were packed in over 500 sacks that were loaded in a truck and will be subjected for public destruction anytime.

According to Senior Supt. Agripino Javier, city police director, the proliferation of pirated CDs, VCDs, and DVDs in the city’s central business district area will now be minimized and eventually eradicated since law enforcers and the OMB will be frequently conducting surprise operations in the coming days.

OMB officials were in the city over the weekend to attend to the complaints from numerous individuals on the alleged proliferation of pirated CDs, VCDs, and DVDs along the sidewalks of the central business district area.

According to Javier, the presence of vendors of pirated CDs along the city’s sidewalks impede free flow of people, thus, the need for frequent operations to minimize the proliferation of illegal CDs patronized by residents and tourists.

Operations against pirated CDs must be done by law enforcers with proper guidance from the OMB and other regulating agencies.

Pirated CDs in the city are being sold for as low as P20 depending on the quality of material used in duplicating the original copy of the movie or event.

Javier told legitimate vendors of CDS, VCDs, and DVDs here that more operations will be conducted by the police and the OMB the coming days to eventually rid the city of pirated CDs which the younger generation could easily access even buying pornographic movies.

The police official said free access of the youth to pornographic materials and movies affect their morality, thus, the need for operations to curb presence of pirated materials along the city’s sidewalks.

The seized pirated CDs are being subjected to an inventory by the OMB and concerned police operatives before the same will be destroyed in front of the public.


Mayoral bet yields 6 guns in Isabela

STO. TOMAS, Isabela — Six high-powered firearms were seized in this town by police Tuesday from the house of mayoral candidate and retired prosecutor Renato Garcia Thursday.

Senior Supt. Jimmy Rivera, provincial police chief said the search conducted at Garcia’s house yielded two M-16 baby Armalite rifles; two.45- caliber pistols and two.38- caliber revolvers.

Rivera said the search was covered by a warrant issued by the court, following the testimony of Noel Arellano, an alleged wanted person from Ilocos Sur, who reportedly worked for Garcia.

Documents covering the firearms are now subject to investigation with charges set to be filed against the mayoral bet, said Rivera. – Dexter A. See


GRO, 2 cohorts arrested with P55,000 shabu

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- A guest relations officer and her two male cohorts were nabbed Thursday in a hotel along Km. 5 here after conspiring to sell sachets of shabu to a female drug law enforcement agent posing as buyer.

The GRO identified as Catherine Lapas Tabacla-Namahig, 34, widow, elementary school undergraduate, native and resident of Buyacaon, Buguias, Benguet.

Her accomplices were named as Shanon Guillao Bayas, 29, married, elementary school graduate, driver, native and resident of Central, Buguias, Benguet; and Ramil Dampilag Tiongan, 33, married, elementary school graduate, farmer, native and resident of Loo, Buguias, Benguet.

The three were arrested in an anti-drug buy-bust operation carried out by anti-narcotic agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera around three p.m. inside Room 411 of the C & A Hotel.

The trio sold two sachets of shabu to the PDEA agent. When frisked later by the arresting PDEA agents, they yielded 19 more sachets of the dangerous drug.

Twenty one sachets of shabu, which weighed 4.2 grams and valued at P55,000 were confiscated from them.

Investigations conducted by Cordillera PDEA agents bared the arrested drug dealers get their supply of shabu from a Muslim community in Tondaligan, Dagupan City, Pangasinan.

They distribute the dangerous drug in Baguio City, and in La Trinidad and Buguias towns of Benguet.

Their clients are usually GROs in the city and other clients in nightclubs, PDEA agents said.
Cases for illegal drugs were filed against the suspects.at the provincial prosecutor’s office.


7 killed in road mishaps in La Union, Pangasinan

By Dexter A. See

LABRADOR, Pangasinan – Seven people were killed in separate vehicular accidents in different parts of Pangasinan and La Union provinces last week, police reported.

In Barangay Dawis here, four people, including a 12-year-old girl, died after their tricycle collided head-on with a mini-bus on the national highway Monday afternoon.

A report from Labrador town police identified the fatalities as Isidro Tandoc Jr., 53; his wife Gina, 53; and their daughter Susaine, 12, all residents of Barangay Magsaysay, Alaminos City, Pangasinan; and a certain Merly Valenzuela.

Initial police investigation showed the victims were on board a tricycle driven by Isidro while on their way to a fiesta in the town when their vehicle collided with the oncoming mini-bus.

The impact of the collision totally wrecked the tricycle and caused near-instant death of its occupants.

The bus driver is now the subject of a manhunt operation after fleeing the scene.

In Sevilla, San Fernando City, La Union, two people died after their motorcycle also collided head-on with a northbound commuter bus on the national highway Tuesday morning.

Supt. Pedro Obaldo Jr., city police chief, identified the fatalities as Kelvin Ryan Cruz, 23, a resident of Dagupan City, Pangasinan, and Alexander Pandoc, 23, a resident of Lingayen, Pangasinan.

Traffic probers said the victims were on board a motorcycle driven by Cruz when the oncoming bus driven by Winston Javier Baros, 28, a native of San Quintin, Abra, veered into their lane and rammed them.

The collision killed the victims instantly and Baros surrendered to police.

He is now charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and damage to property.

In Barangay Palarong Norte, Bangar, La Union, a 30-year-old man died when his body slammed against the concrete pavement in a self-accident after losing control of his motorcycle before dawn Tuesday.

Joseph Lopez, 30, married and a resident of Palarong Norte, Bangar, La Union, died from multiple injuries from the accident. Police said he reeked of liquor.


The transformation of Irisan dumpsite

Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act was passed into law in 2001. This law states that we are given five years to make the transition from using open dumpsites and have in place programs for proper waste disposal. The five years provided by law passed (2005) and the Irisan dumpsite had to be closed down without the city having any programs in place.

In 2007, under the administration of Peter Rey Bautista, programs for proper waste disposal were finally put into place. Despite the disapproval of the City Council, Bautista ordered the collection of garbage to avoid another health and environmental crisis. It was also under his administration that the 10-year Development Plan for Ecological Solid Waste Management was passed into law.

In these first three years since the law was passed, part of the closure plan for the Irisan dumpsite which commenced in 2007 was to attain a slope for the garbage dump which is safe and will not cause a garbage landslide. Riprappings were done to secure the area and contain the garbage. The areas had to be filled so that the desired safe slope will be attained.

The in-filling which started in October 2009 was able to achieve not just a conversion of the garbage-filled facility to a near vegetated facility but has also given the city savings of more than P4 million in the year 2009 and an expected savings of P24 million for 2010. This savings came from the budget allocated for the hauling of garbage to Capaz, Tarlac from October to December of 2009.

The in-filling of the dumpsite area was given a formal endorsement by the National Solid Waste Management Committee (NSWMC) in 2009. The present in-filling activities being undertaken as part of the closure plan is almost complete.

Without compaction at the dumpsite, where the dump is expected to be loose, the hauling of garbage to Capaz will commence after April 30. With compaction however, which occurs naturally during the rainy season, the city needs to do additional in-filling where the daily collection will be placed as allowed by the NSWMC. This occurrence will mean even more savings for the city.

Aside from the in-filling, the leveling of the top portion is also being done which will be vegetated afterwards. A perimeter fence will also be constructed to protect he facility and to prevent the spillover of garbage outside the facility.

After the completion of the closure program, the Irisan dumpsite will be fully utilized as a transfer station for trash while the city government is working on locating an area for an Engineered Sanitary Landfill (ESL). It will also be utilized as the central Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) of the city.

These are the steps that have been quietly taken under the administration of Peter Rey Bautista to comply with specifications of RA 9003 and to ensure a healthy a healthy environment.


Polls for Bulacan district deferred

By George Trillo

The Commission on Elections has postponed the election of a representative for the first district of Bulacan after the Supreme Court nullified the law creating a separate legislative district for Malolos City.

“We have to set it aside. We have to set an election at another date. What will be deferred is the election for congressman of the first district of Bulacan but not the whole Bulacan,” Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said in a press briefing.

Last January, the High Court declared that Republic Act 9591 violated the Constitution and an ordinance attached to the Charter because the municipality failed to meet the population requirement of 250,000 for a new legislative district.

Because of this, Malolos City was regrouped with the first district of Bulacan.

“At this point in time, it will be difficult to conduct election for congressman for the first district because you have people running for the first district (and) you have people running for congressman of Malolos City,” Larrazabal said.

The Comelec will conduct a special election for a House seat in the first district of Bulacan by merging the candidates of the two districts.


Vergara, youth clean roads, hold street plays in Earth Day rites

BAGUIO CITY -Armed with brooms with scores of youngsters including grand daughter Ysabel de Vera at his back, former three-term and one time mayor Bernardo Vergara Thursday during Earth Day assured of a cleaner Baguio once he gets back in office.

“I assure that protection of environment will be one of my priorities once I get back to office,” said the Timpuyog ti Baguio congressional bet.

The “Musika At Walis Para Sa Mundong Malinis”, a Sangguniang Kabataan Federation initiated activity in coordination with Baguio artists and musicians saw scores of youngsters armed with brooms as they swept Session Road literally and with street plays on environment protection.

Outgoing Baguio Rep. and Timpuyog mayoralty bet Mauricio Domogan later on joined him as the two try to repackage Baguio as the “Cleanest and Greenest” highly urbanized city in the country, a feat they have done as the then top ranked city officials when Baguio was named as such for three straight years from 1994-1996.

Vergara said among his priorities will be the cleanup of Baguio and a solution to the garbage problem which has hounded the present administration and costing the city hundreds of millions just to rid of the 250 tons of garbage produced by the more than 350,000 city residents.

The street “performance” ended at the Igorot Park where the children once again showed their dramatic side and urging people to be more environment conscious.

Earth Day is a day designed to appreciate the world. It was founded in April 22, 1970 by American Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin where 20 million Americans joined its initial staging as an organized protest against the deterioration of the environment. – Dexter A. See


P38.7 M marijuana in Ilocos Sur, Benguet

By Freddie Lazaro and Dexter A. See

Marijuana plantations worth P38.7 million worth of the banned crop were destroyed in “Operation: Farm Ville 2” carried out by authorities in the boundaries of Ilocos Sur and Kibungan, Benguet.

Bismark Bengawayan, public information officer of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Region 1, reported Tuesday the five-day clean-up operation at the marijuana fields ended April 19.

Conducted by the PDEA with elements of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Operation Farm Ville 2 accomplished the uprooting and destruction of 176, 415 fully-grown marijuana plants, 12,000 fruiting tops, 4,000 seedlings, four kilos of seeds, and 35 kilos of dried marijuana leaves.

Bengawayan, quoting the Dangerous Drug Board, said the total of these were valued at P38.7 million.

Chief Supt. Samuel B. Diciano, Police Regional Office-Cordillera director, said the clean-up phase of the anti-drug operation came after massive operation in the tri-boundaries of La Union, Benguet and Ilocos Sur where over P1.3 billion worth of marijuana were uprooted and destroyed.


Odsey urges barangay share from dev’t funds

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Congressional candidate Franklin Odsey sees the need for barangay Local Government Units to have a proportionate share in the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of the congressman.

As it is, barangay support from the solon’s PDAF is identified at the discretion of the congressman.

The proposed policy of the former three-term Provincial Board Member and incumbent Bontoc mayor calls for an ensured budget from congressional funds for barangay LGUs to augment support for their programs and services.

Barangay LGUs source their funds from Municipal and Provincial LGUs, which in most cases have meager allocations if not discretionary, on the part of the LGU decision making bodies.

Odsey finds backing in the need for barangay support and proportionate fund in his previous performance as a vice mayor and incumbent mayor. The former vice mayor institutionalized the annual P40,000 assistance to each of the 16 barangays of Bontoc.

Through legislation, he increased the honoraria of barangay health workers , barangay tanod and Day Care teachers of Bontoc. The incumbent mayor institutionalized barangay Brigada fund support to ensure peace and order, and facilitated proportionate sharing of School Board Fund for athletic and academic development by private and public schools.
One of the basic needs of barangays in the Province is health-related services and facilities which in most cases are lacking. Not all 144 barangays of the Province have their health centers. In Sagada, for example, there are only six health centers found in 19 barangays.

Odsey sees the need for every barangay to have their health center and provide basic medicines.

Influenza, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and diarrhea are among the top ailments in remote barangays among children in Mountain Province which in most cases need immediate attention at the nearest health center available.

Odsey also noted that proper nutrition remains to be a top need along with preventive medicine to lessen if not avoid hospital expenses.

At the same time, improving hospital facilities is a must to provide better health services.

Health remains one among the major concerns of Odsey not only for Bontoc but also in other municipalities of the province. Through the facilitative role of the Mayor, medicines were distributed to the ten municipalities of the province.

Allocating support from the PDAF is a top priority to address health related concerns especially in barangays, among other services implemented.


Cops nab 4 men, seize 2 guns in P’sinan town

By Mar T. Supnad

CAMP FLORENDO, La Union – Police arrested four men and confiscated six firearms in Tayug town in Pangasinan, it was reported here. Thursday.

In a report to Ilocos police head Chief Supt. Constante D. Azares, Jr., Pangasinan police director Senior Supt. Percival G. Barba said early evening of April 17, police received information on alleged presence of armed men in Barangay Sto. Domingo in Tayug.

Police were dispatched to the place. However, upon noticing the arrival of the policemen, the suspects placed their firearms inside a black Chevrolet Optra car, then locked the said vehicle.

The suspects refused to open their car’s trunk prompting the police to seek search warrant from Judge Ulyses Butuyan of the Regional Trial Court Branch 15 in Tayug.

When confronted with the search warrant, the suspects finally allowed the police to search their car that resulted to the confiscation of the firearms.

Barba identified the arrested persons as Samuel Cajang, 27; Mario Castro, 38; Manolito Cajang, 44; and Ramil Cabanilla, 40; all from Tayug town. They were brought to the TayugPolice Station for investigation.

Found inside the vehicle were six firearms loaded with ammunition inclnding two Cal. 45 pistols; two Cal 38 revolvers, one Cal. .357 and one Cal, 380.

Also found inside the car were various magazines for different types of firearms.

The vehicle was registered in the name of one Joey Gapuz Bermas, a resident of Zaragoza Street in Tayug.

“We will be filing a case for violation of Republic Act 8294 in relation to Comelec Resolution No. 8714 (gun ban) against the suspects,” Barba said.


Independent survey shows Timpuyog trio in top slates

By Joel B. Belinan

BAGUJO CITY -- If an election were held last week of March, the Timpuyog would have won the three top positions in the city with congressman and mayoralty candidate Mauricio Domogan winning by a wide margin over his nine rivals, and the congressional candidate of the slate, Bernardo Vergara, and incumbent Vice Mayor Daniel Farinas would have also prevailed over their opponents.

This is shown in the latest survey conducted by an independent group from Iloilo and commissioned by the Bombo Radio Station. The group conducted a random survey among 1200 respondents from selected barangays from March 21 to 28.

In the survey, Domogan gained the nod of 59.4 percent of the respondents while his opponents in the mayoralty race were way below: Jose Molintas was a far second getting only 14.7 percent; Elaine Sembrano third getting with 5.3 percent.

Jun Labo got 4.9 percent; Mark Go 3 percent and Julius Mandapat with 1.5 percent. The remaining four got less than 1 percent.

In the congressional race, Vergara got 23.3% or with just a 5% lead over his closest rival, Rocky Thomas Balisong. At third place was Leqandro Yangot who garnered 13.8% and at fourth place were Edgar Avila and Reinaldo Bautistat, each getting 8.8%, closely followed by Braulio Yaranon. The three other congressional candidates got 1% each.

In the vice mayoralty race, Farinas might retain his post with his comfortable approval rating of 51.3% as against the 25.7% garnered by Faustino Olowan. The other vice mayoralty aspirant, Carol Domalsin got 8.0% approval.

In the race for the 12-member city council, the survey showed all the incumbent councilors running for the same position would be able to make it. Nic Aliping topped the list getting 32.0% followed by Edilberto Balajadia, 28.3%; then Lourdes Tabanda, 26.1%; Peter Fianza, 23.6%; Elmer Datuin, 23.3%; Popo Cosalan, 19.8%; Richard Carino, 19.7%; Philian Weygan, 19.5%; Edison Bilog, 19.6%; Fred Bagbagen, 17.3%; Pinky Chan Rondez, 16.1; and Nick Palaganas, 16.1%.

At 13th place was former councilor Edilberto Tenefrancia (13.8%), Cyntia Tabora (10.3%) was at 14th, and Alexander Ortega (9.7) at 15th.

The survey also included the presidential candidates with Noynoy Aquino getting 34.3%, Manny Villar, 25.0%; Gibo Teodoro, 14.4%; Erap Estrada, 7.6%; Eddie Villanueva, 3.3%; Richard Gordon, 2.6%; Nick Perlas, 0.3%; and De Los Reyes, 0.1%. For the vice presidential race, Mar Roxas lead the pack with 45.8% followed by Loren Legarda, 22.6%; Jojomar Binay, 15.0%; Bayani Fernando, 3.0%; Edu Manzano, 1.4%; Perfecto Yasay, 0.8%; and Jay Sonza, 0.2%.


SM supermalls to hold nationwide job fair May 1

BAGUIO CITY -- The SM Supermalls will celebrate Labor Day, May 1, with a nationwide job fair at its 38 malls.

SM Malls have been a catalyst in creating employment and business opportunities in areas where they are located, and the job fair is one way in which it can do its share for the community.

Held in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Employment, the Public Employment Service Office, and local government units, the job fair aims to salute the new graduates and the Pinoy Working Force and to help as many people as possible find employment, an SM press release said.

With more than 1,200 companies participating this year, the event will encourage people to join the Proud Pinoy Workforce.

Booths will be set up and staff from different companies will be ready to receive applicants and enlarge their work force.

Among those participating with the SM Group of Companies are the SM Supermalls, the SM Department Store, the SM Supermarket and Hypermarket, SM Foodcourt, SM Cinemas, SM Leisure Center, the Family Entertainment Center, BDO, SM Investments and other reputable companies.

This is the third nationwide job fair that the SM Supermalls has organized. In last year’s job fair, a total of 1,186 companies participated with more than 75,000 registered applicants.


Domogan says BLIST will solve Baguio’s problems

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY – The realization of the 15-year old expanded Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) growth area is the key to putting an end to the numerous problems being encountered by this city due to rapid urbanization.

This was bared by three-term Rep. Mauricio G. Domogan, who accepted the challenge of multi-sectoral groups to come back as the city’s mayor in order to bring back the glory days of Baguio, adding that the BLISTT concept is the potential solution to help address the city’s garbage, water, traffic and other problems caused by reported over population.

The BLISTT growth area is being pursued by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera in order to address the worsening problems of the city government as well as promoting the development of local governments surrounding Baguio City similar to the Greater Manila Area (GMA).

According to Domogan, local officials of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay will be given equal importance through the conduct of continuous consultations with each other in order to craft a sustainable and doable growth area development plan for the BLISTT so that all their concerns will be substantially addressed before the same will be put in place.

He stressed the city government cannot solve the worsening garbage, water, traffic and urban development problems alone, thus, the surrounding communities must be tapped in order to have a share of the city’s booming development which could be instrumental in spurring economic progress in nearby places that could help improve the living condition of people in the BLISTT areas.

The RDC-Cordillera had been pursuing the realization of the BLISTT area over the past several years but the reported lack of interest of Baguio and Benguet officials to see the merits of the concept has stalled its immediate realization considering that each local government has a different view on the matter considering that it will only reportedly result to Baguio’s benefit.

However, Domogan disclosed what is important is for city officials to open the communication lines among them so that the matter will be constantly discussed in a descent matter so that all concerns will be deliberated and addressed for the crafting of the sustainable growth area development plan.


Midnight appointments


It did not come as a big surprise that as soon as Alberto Agra was appointed acting Justice Secretary, he didn’t waste any time peddling the notion that the constitution does not ban “midnight appointments” in the Judiciary.

It is interesting to note what Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc wrote in his column a day prior to the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling allowing the President to appoint a “midnight Chief Justice.” Bondoc said: “As if midnight deals were not bad enough, President Arroyo too is coming closer to naming a midnight Chief Justice. That’s if what a braggart at Malacañang is saying is true.

“The showoff claims to have scored at the Supreme Court for Arroyo. Allegedly he has convinced most justices to rule that the constitutional ban on midnight appointments does not apply to the judiciary. This would let Arroyo name a replacement when CJ Reynato Puno retires on May 17.” Further, he said,“ And the boastful Palace operator claims to have clinched it for her. The next step supposedly is to petition the Court to resolve the issue once and for all.”

The following day, by a 9-1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional ban on midnight appointments does not apply to the Chief Justice. Did Agra have a hand in convincing nine justices to turn a blind eye to the law and give Arroyo her last wish to satisfy their “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude) to Arroyo for bestowing on them the highest honor a magistrate could dream of?

Recently, the Judicial Bar Council assailed the Supreme Court’s March 17 decision allowing Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice during the constitutional ban on midnight appointments. The JBC sent its comment to the High Court signed by seven members. The only member who did not sign the comment was Agra. Instead, Agra, in his capacity as Solicitor General, filed a separate comment “asking the high court to state that the President can appoint all vacancies in the judiciary and not just in the Supreme Court during her final three months in office despite the ban against midnight appointments.”

Now, not only did Agra insist that Arroyo can appoint a midnight Chief Justice, but also she can appoint all vacancies in the judiciary including the one soon to be vacated by retiring Chief Justice Puno. Makes one wonder who Agra had in mind to fill the last seat in the Supreme Court?

With the Supreme Court’s final ruling on April 20, affirming the President’s power to appoint the next Chief Justice, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Agra would be Arroyo’s next Supreme Court appointee. Interestingly, the High Court failed to make a “doctrinal ruling” on whether the exemption to the midnight appointment ban applies only to the Chief Justice or to the entire judiciary. But the fact that the justices did not make a ruling would be enough for Arroyo to insist that she appoint a vacancy as soon as Puno retires. What has she got to lose by doing it?

Agra may have had his eyes wide open for that opening. It would seem that he had been “working” on it from the first day he took over the Justice department. He has served his master very well and appointment to the High Court would be his if he asked for it. The only thing that would stop him from being appointed to the High Court is if a lawsuit or disbarment petition is filed against him.

Agra’s “aggravated assault” on the wheel of justice, as legal luminaries say, could be his Achilles heel. What he did in exonerating the Ampatuans is contemptuous, cowardly, and lacking the balanced mind required of those who dispense justice.

Agra has dishonored the legal profession and thus should lose his place among the honorable men and women who are entrusted in upholding the law of the land and in protecting the people from criminal elements. Therefore, he should be disbarred from his profession and barred from serving in the government for the rest of his life. The people deserve no less.


Deadly endorsement

Alfred P. Dizon

Andal Ampatuan Jr. endorsing leading presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III was the height in irony. I saw the massacre artist on TV smiling like a rat and wearing a yellow T-shirt while giving a thumbs-up sign for Noynoy.

Imagine Ampatuan’s vote or his clan for that matter deciding the outcome of the presidential race come May elections in favor of Aquino. This sinister fellow’s deadly endorsement has indeed gotten the interest of constituents of this Banana Republic who have commented about the issue from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Now, if the Ampatuan clan can help Aquino win, my favorite drunken master says, there’s no problem with that. “They can help Aquino win, why not?” he says. “But then, they have to face the law once Noynoy is in Malacanang for allegedly killing more than 50 victims – relatives of their rival clan, the Mangudadatus, journalists, lawyers and supporters.”

“Do they have plans without Aquino’s knowledge, of rigging elections in Maguindanao, Garci style so Noynoy will win,?” he asks in drunken stupor. “Madam Gloria would be spewing fire and brimstone. It would be like getting a taste of one’s own medicine of that would be the case.”

Noynoy, when confronted by newsmen about the Ampatuan endorsement said “Siguro joke po yun. Hindi ko nakakausap yan. ‘Di namin hinahabol ang kanilang endorsement (It must be a joke. I never talked to him. We never asked his endorsement). No, thank you.”

Aquino, in an email to the Northern Philippine Times, pointed out that Andal openly endorsed the candidacies of Nationalista Party bet Manny Villar and his spokesperson Gilbert Remulla while he was being transferred from the National Bureau of Investigation detention cell to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig. “Basta alam ko, noong isang araw hindi dilaw ang kulay ng baller na suot-suot niya sa TV.”

Aquino also corrected reports circulated by the Villar camp that it was the late President Cory Aquino who appointed the elder Andal to his post in 1986. “Vice Mayor lang si Andal Sr. noong dumating ang EDSA. Isa siya sa na-replace na OIC (officer-in-charge). Yung OIC dating pulis, Ampatuan din ang surname, ang nagrekomenda si Zacarias Candao. Si Candao ay governor ng Maguindanao noon na tinalo ng kakampi naming.”

Aquino added he and other opposition senatorial candidates had fallen victim to cheating by the Ampatuans in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the 2007 elections. In the Ampatuans’ bailiwick in Maguindanao, the opposition senatorial slate was trounced 12-0 by the administration’s Team Unity.

Aquino said he and his supporters are preparing against cheating in ARMM and in other areas where poll fraud is likely to occur. “We are preparing nationwide to safeguard our votes, not just in one area but in many areas. We have 225,000 watchers ready and their ranks may even grow.”
Liberal Party senatorial bet and Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros also laughed at the news that Ampatuan Jr. was endorsing the candidacy of Noynoy, Sen. Mar Roxas and herself.

"It's ridiculous," said an amused Hontiveros, adding that only those who are mentally disturbed would orchestrate the endorsement. She said that the endorsement was suspect.

"Is this the quid pro quo for his release?" asked Hontiveros observing that the endorsement was made after DOJ secretary dropped the murder charges against the Ampatuans despite the strong evidence against them. She thinks that the perpetrator of the horrible massacre could have been asked by his number one supporter Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to 'endorse' the Liberal Party in order to denigrate them.

"Clearly this is yet another black propaganda from the Villaroyo camp," said Hontiveros. "Just look at the timeline. The suspect of the Maguindanao Massacre endorsed the Villaroyo camp. There were reports that members of Nacionalista party visited the Ampatuans. Moreover, they were seen wearing orange ballers and when asked, Ampatuan unequivocably expressed his support to Villaroyo. Now that it has backfired, they are desperately using this endorsement against LP."

"It's Ampatuan who needs to undergo a pschiatric test," the senatoriable added as the Liberal Party has always been consistent in condemning the horrid killing of 57 people last November. "Kung sa akin lang dapat nasa kulungan ang mga ito," said Hontiveros.


Agra’s ‘aggravated assault’

Perry Diaz

In an announcement that shocked the judiciary and enraged the people, Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra issued an order to the government prosecutors to exonerate former ARMM Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and Akmad Ampatuan Sr. of any complicity in the “Maguindanao massacre” last year where at least 57 unarmed civilians were murdered.

The two were among several members of the powerful Ampatuan clan who were detained by the government on charges of masterminding or participating in the mass murder.

But the prosecutors defied Agra’s order to clear and release the two suspects saying, “it dishonors the institution’s mandate to dispense justice.” In response, Agra arrogantly threatened to remove them from the case and appoint another prosecutor who would follow his order.

In an apparent approval of Agra’s controversial decision, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was quiet about it. Agra said, “In this case silence means approval unless there’s an explicit directive to resign or report. I like to think I did nothing wrong for her to berate, rebuff or replace me.” Self-glorifying, self-absolving. There is a term for that: arrogance of power.

Agra reasoned that Zaldy had an alibi that placed him somewhere else. Actually, on the day of the massacre, Zaldy was in Malacañang -- the Ampatuans are political allies of President Gloria Arroyo -- conferring with Arroyo’s political staff. However, Harry Roque, lawyer for most of the journalists killed in the massacre, said, “Alibi is the weakest form of defense.”

Zaldy could have participated in planning the mass murder days or weeks before it happened. And the prosecution had presented witnesses and signed affidavits naming Zaldy as one of the masterminds. It is not uncommon in political assassinations for the mastermind to be far away while hired killers do the job. It’s the “perfect alibi” unless it can be proven with incontrovertible proof and compelling evidence. And the prosecutors have the “ammunition” to blow Zaldy’s alibi to smithereens.

Who is Alberto Agra? Agra passed the bar in 1991 and taught at the Ateneo de Manila, his alma mater. He served as Arroyo’ lawyer when the House of Representatives tried to impeach her in 2006. In 2007, Arroyo appointed him as head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.

On Jan. 8, 2010, Arroyo appointed Agra as Solicitor General. On March 3, 2010, Arroyo appointed him acting Secretary of Justice concurrently. As the head of the Justice Department, Agra sits as ex-officio member of the 8-member Judicial Bar Council which is responsible for vetting and preparing the short lists of nominees for judicial appointments by the President. That’s a lot of power vested on one man. He is, without a shadow of doubt, a rabid Arroyo loyalist, who would gleefully execute her orders without question or reservation.


Good and bad

Ramon S. Dacawi

BAGUIO CITY -- Twelve-year old cancer victim Mark Anthony Viray, a Baguio boy who dreams of one day becoming a pilot, is left with no funds to restart his chemotherapy against Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Ernesto, his 50-year old dad who drives a cab, last week had to use P13,000 for the treatment to pay the cost of two CT scans –on the chest and abdomen . Together with a previous test on the neck - where a lump reappeared late January - the scans were needed to determine whether cancer cells had not spread from his lymph nodes to other parts of the body.

The good news is that the mutant cells remained contained. “Normal ang finding,” Ernesto said in a text after conferring with the lab technicians. The result will guide the boy’s doctors, who offered their services pro bono, in preparing his second, six-round chemotherapy treatment, which must begin as soon as possible to improve his chances for recovery.

The bad news is that the fund, the latest sent by Shoshin Kinderhilfe, a small humanitarian foundation in Germany , had been used up. Shoshin (which means Beginner’s Mind), had been at the boy’s corner since he began his bout against the big C two years ago.

Former world traditional karate champion Julian Chees, a native of Maligcong, Mt. Province who founded Shoshin with his students in southern Germany, wondered if other Samaritans can also come to the boy’s rescue.

“We hope there will be takers soon, to keep alive this boy’s dream of growing up and one day flying a plane,” Chees said. “We hope his courage and determination to win his fight will inspire us all to reach out to him.”

The boy’s medical journey began in May the other year, when a lump on his neck led to a biopsy that confirmed the disease. Ironically, lymphatic cells serve as the soldiers of the body’s immune system against disease and infection. In this case, they turned abnormal and just kept on dividing.

Mark Anthony began his chemotherapy in August, 2008, completing six cycles that his father, a widower who was then unemployed, could hardly shoulder. Shoshin bankrolled the initial treatments, with support from kids of Brent School , Baguio expatriate Freddie de Guzman in Canada , the DPS barangay council and Paul and Jenelyn Balanza in Michigan . A group of young businessmen responded to Baguio boy Carlos Anton’s call and matched what the kids of Brent raised.

After completing six sessions, the boy looked on the way to licking the disease. He returned to school and is now in the fifth grade at the Quezon Elementary School . Last January, the lump on the neck reappeared, prompting the three scans and his return to another six rounds of chemo.

Donors may ring up Ernesto;s cell phone number 0916 8560455 or course their support to DPS punong barangay Narcisa Laguitan or kagawad Boying de Guzman. Three more patients, this time kidney failure victims, also pleaded for help to maintain their twice-a-week hemodialysis sessions which will be for lifetime.

Twenty nine-year old Marco Bumacas, single and unemployed, of 151 Purok 4, Lower Quirino Hill, has been in dialysis since the other year at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. He may be contacted at cell phone number 09183566410.

Tommy Dannang, an employee at the Regional Trial Court here, has drained all his savings and still has to take care of two kids. Donors may ring up lawyer Cris Dona-al at 09396417682.

Benita Dalapos, 49, and a farmer’s wife from the remote town of San Emilio , Ilocos Sur, has been on dialysis since last month in San Fernando , La Union. Her sister, Ruth Umangil, recently came up to Baguio looking for help, which they got from Shoshin, Other donors can call Ruth at 09064314743. Shoshin last week also paid for one dialysis session each for Bumacas and Dannang,at the BGHMC.

“Shoshin can only do so much and we hope others will sponsor one session for any of these patients,” Chees said.


Claver for Mt. Province; Balitang for Ifugao

March L. Fianza

This week’s space gives way to two acquaintances that are in the thick of campaign for their vision and mission as Liberal Party gubernatorial bets in their respective provinces.

Aside from the bigger reason that we both support the aspirations of the Liberal Party and are there to push Ninoy, Mar and the LP senate slate; Louis "LOY" Funa-ay Claver is the brother-in-law of the late Pablo Lamsis Fernando, my uncle and friend.

That is also the rationale behind why many Ibalois who are not even registered voters of Mountain Province are supportive of vice governor Claver’s fight for governorship.

Before getting elected vice governor in 2007, Claver has been the mayor of Bontoc many times over from 1980-1986 and was re-appointed to the same position by President Cory Aquino in 1987. Again in 2001-2007, he was elected municipal mayor.

With a clean record in that span of experience in public service, every citizen in Mountain Province in his or her right mind should vote for governor none other than Claver who said that his goal is to “provide decent housing and medical care, quality education for all, and ensure food on every family’s table.”

Let me share a part of Louis “Loy” Funa-ay Claver’s platform of governance that I stole from hisFacebook account in the worldwide web in behalf of the reading public who do not have social networking accounts.
“We will not stand idly to witness the further deterioration of the social conditions of the majority in our society. It is our duty to present to the people a government and political leadership that they deserve – foremost commitment to the people of Mountain Province to improve the quality of life, especially the poor and disadvantaged.”

The rule of law and good governance and freedom of every individual is the core of my belief which aims to build a society in which individuals are entitled to pursue their aims, develop their talents, and the fulfillment of their potentials which are free from arbitrary interference.

Redistribution of powers therefore, involves an enlargement of opportunities within the political and economic system, which should enable everyone to attain not high but at least a sustainable quality of life.

Thus, the main agenda or the core of system of government should focus mainly on the following: Health by giving financial assistance to indigent patients, upgrade hospital facilities, create barangay health clinics and provide health workers.

Education by creating, improving and rehabilitating school facilities to include particularly day care centers. Agriculture by improving post-harvest facilities aside from constructing loading platforms.

Infrastructure by improving or opening farm-to-market roads, constructing health centers and day care centers; and social services by providing faster frontline services and improving the processing of jobs.”

Claver adds, “delivery of basic social services to the people should always take precedence because the welfare of the majority should never be sacrificed.”

“Ken chakayo ay i-iba, Ma-awis kayo ay maki es-esang; LOY CLAVER nan ifotus taku Gobernador nan probinsya tako. La-ing, talek ya anos waday ken siya. Na-ila na isnan nen serbisyowan na. Maid koma in chuad-chuas ayena, tay esay chalan nan ipischo na. Claver for Governor nan na-i marka.”
I have many lawyer friends and relatives but Eugene Mariano Balitang or EMB for short, the gubernatorial bet of Ifugao under the Liberal Party, is something else. I have known him as a lawyer who, in layman’s terms, painstakingly explains to his client the laws that are applicable to the case. Maybe that is so because many of his clients are from far-flung sitios of Ifugao.

He is a Certified Public Accountant since 1993 and a practicing Lawyer since 1999. And as a responsible CPA-lawyer, EMB knows that government programs and projects should be based on what the people want, not on what the politicians think is best for them. Governance must be participatory and consultative.

He said all other programs and projects of the provincial government under an EMB administration shall focus on EMB’s 3-point agenda on Economy, Education and Health Care.
In 2003, he opened his own accountancy and law office in Lagawe, Ifugao. Among his co-lawyers in Ifugao are Judge Bill Buyucan (MTC-Bagabag), Judge Jennifer Humiding (MTC-Lagawe) and Ifugao Provincial Election Supervisor Ricardo Bulintao.

EMB was born in Binnaliw, Cababuyan, Banaue; now part of Cababuyan-South, Hingyon, to Alfredo Dagadag Balitang, Sr. of Hingyon and Mercy Gayaman Mariano of Banaue. He is married to Deborah Balanban Buyagawon of Kiangan.

For his kakailians who want to know more about his bloodline, EMB’s grandfather Mariano is the only son of Kingguingan of Hapao, Hungduan and Inwayah of Poitan, Banaue; his wife Inchuyoh hails from Kinakin and Cambulo, Banaue. His grandfather Balitang is a descendant of Hangdaan of Mompolia, Hingyon; his wife Bugan hails from Cababuyan and Anao, Hingyon.

In May 2004, he was elected as the youngest Board Member of Ifugao and has authored several landmark ordinances among which are the Children’s Code of Ifugao that codified all the rights, duties and responsibilities of Ifugao children, and the Provincial GAD Code which recognizes the equality of men and women, and gender sensitivity in governance.

In 2007, EMB ran for governor but lost to Teddy Baguilat Jr., now a partymate in the LP who is running for congressman.

EMB believes that he would be facing three basic problems if elected governor in May 2010. These are: Provincial roads, provincial hospital and provincial boundaries. He knows that a road network is the basic infrastructure support for all programs and projects in the economic development of the province.

Hence, he said, “being an agricultural province, farm-to-market roads are important to the agriculture sector. Towards this end, the existing provincial roads connecting the municipalities to the capital town should by all means be improved and maintained at all times.”

Under his Health Program, EMB said Ifugao’s six provincial hospitals and one general hospital need to be upgraded into State-of-the-Art Hospitals (SOTAHs) while the general healthcare program should be among the top priorities of the provincial government, considering that these are sadly operating below par.

EMB said, there is the need for Ifugao to safeguard its territorial and ancestral domains and settle its boundary disputes with its neighboring provinces of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet and Mountain Province , since land area is one of the criteria for the distribution of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), where Ifugao is highly dependent of.

The age-old issue on the Magat Dam franchise and business taxes sharing with Isabela that is rooted in the unsettled boundary dispute between Alfonso Lista, Ifugao and Ramon, Isabela has to be addressed with dispatch.

In his desire to have our children be educationally competitive and up-to-date with the latest knowledge in our information highway, EMB believes in the energization or electrification of all barangays in the province. He also believes in the need to have all areas in the province accessible by cellular signal, but taking into consideration the effects of radiation discharge as mandated by a provincial ordinance he co-authored with BM Lucio Ayahao.

EMB believes that the head of the province must be one who was born and raised in Ifugao, one who feels the pulse of the people, and not one who merely wishes to be governor for obvious personal reasons. – marchfianza777@yahoo.com


Between consumers and commuters

Ike Señeres

MANILA -- It’s amusing how people would tend to confuse the advocacies of consumers and commuters, but on second thought, these two causes are actually very much intertwined with each other. Just to prove my point, it could be said that commuters are consumers too, because they are in effect the customers of all kinds of transport services.

As part of its continuing efforts to improve its daily programming, Global News Network (GNN) has asked me to define the main thrusts of my show, so that these could be promoted in the daily merchandising plugs. In response, I choose consumer promotion, commuter protection and environmental action as my main subjects of discussion.

From the time that the National Council for Commuter Protection (NCCP) was founded about five years ago, I have already fallen in love with its advocacies. I wish NCCP all the good luck as it fields its nominees for Congress for the first time, as party list number 163 in the ballot. If you are a commuter of any kind, I encourage you to support them.

Normally, it is generally understood that commuters are the people who take public transports as they go from one place to another. In the perspective of the NCCP however, the people who own their own cars and who pass through the toll roads are also commuters and it is for this reason that the organization is also opposing the increase of toll fees every time the issue comes up. For the record, the NCCP has already done this once, as it was able to oppose the last proposed increase of the SLEX toll fees.

I do not know what has gotten into the head of our government planners, but they are now proposing the imposition of VAT over the SLEX and NLEX toll fees. I see this proposal as a form of double taxation, and I am glad that the NCCP has again picked up the cudgels to oppose this plan.

In theory, the people are paying taxes with the expectation that the government will build the roads that they need, using the taxes that they have paid. In reality however, the government collections go to the wrong purposes, and that is the reason why toll roads have to be allowed.

Looking at it from one angle, we could say that the people are kind enough to be willing to pay for the toll fees, just to be able to use the privately funded toll roads that should have been built with public funds in the first place. Looking at it from the opposite angle, we could also say that the government is cruel enough to think about imposing new taxes on the use of roads that should have been built with public funds in the first place. It is easy to say that this is a form of double taxation, but I a manner of speaking, we could also say that this is actually a form of double jeopardy.

The advocacies of the NCCP are very popular, and I would say that for as long as these are brought to the attention of the people, this party list would surely win, and its nominees would surely sit in Congress. It would be good if this would really happen, but I know for sure that win or loss, the NCCP will continue to fight for its advocacies whether or not they will have people in the Congress.

If you would like to express your support for NCCP as a party list, you could go online and register at http://nccp.webs.com. You could also contact NCCP by sending a text to 09276330526 or by calling up 331-6227. You could also send a fax to 559-3381.

As commuters of any land, air and sea transport, we should all know our rights. If you think that your commuter rights have been violated one way or the other, please request an incident report from the NCCP. If your complaint is due to land transports, you could send your complaints directly to LTFRB at phone number 426-2519.

It is unfortunate that the party list of the people with disabilities (PWD) has been disqualified in the coming election. Fortunately however, the concerns of the PWDs as commuters are included in the advocacies of the NCCP. It is for this reason that the nominees of the NCCP have vowed to carry on the mantle for the PWD sector if and when they make it to the Congress. If you or anyone in your family belongs to the PWD sector, I would encourage you to support the NCCP party list in the meantime, until your sector will have the chance again in the next election to field your nominees.

Watch KA IKING LIVE! Thursdays 7pm to 8pm in Global News Network (GNN),Channel 21 in Destiny Cable. Email iseneres@yahoo.com or text +639293605140 for local cable listings. Visit senseneres@blogspot.com


Jupiter Dominguez: Making a difference

Gina Dizon

With a name identified with the late Mountain Province solon Victor Dominguez known for traditional politics, congressional candidate Jupiter ‘Jup’ Dominguez has to project that he is different from his late uncle-former solon.

The late solon’s 20 years stay in congressional office meant one thing-the perpetuation of patronage politics built through the years and gained support from families and individuals who benefited in one way or the other through the political blessings of the former Representative.

At the same time, it has marginalized those who were not aligned with the former congressman. Talk about how disgruntled some individuals were on how employment and contracts were awarded where the signature of the solon was an influential consideration in one’s acceptance to a job. Yet, is this something new? Mountain Province is a microcosm of the corrupt political system of the country where patronage politics rules.

Anyway, comes now the late solon’s nephew, former Sabangan Mayor Jupiter Dominguez who rivaled and lost to his uncle-congressman Victor Dominguez in the 2007 congressional elections. This gathered mixed reactions.

Whatever these were, breaking away from a stronghold of power was too much of a political gamble by the younger Dominguez who stepped forward to create a new image for himself and new politics for Mountain Province contrary to the system which the former solon has built through the years.

Making a difference was made pronounced during the 2006 demolition of the St Peter’s Church in Sabangan with funds built from the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) of the former congressman. Mayor Jupiter Dominguez at this time condemned the demolition together with the Sangguniang Bayan; and provided the municipal hall as temporary site for church services.

The rest was history as the late Victor Dominguez(may he rest in peace) emerged victorious to represent Mountain Province again for another three year term in Congress cut short by his death in February 2008.

It is now the call of the day for congressional aspirant Jupiter Dominguez to 'make a difference' for a better Mountain Province.


Where are the cops when you need them?

Rudy Garcia

BAGUIO CITY -- It was just a usual walk for me one evening on the second week this month along Kayang Street, when I noticed a man trying to come near me as fast as he can. When I stopped to ask him, he told me he was just held up by several men pointing to about five to seven men walking towards the direction of Abanao St.

The man said they got his wallet containing his salary as a construction worker and good that his cell phone was spared because it was placed inside one of his worn socks. I thought of helping this poor guy and play hero at that moment, but thinking I am not superman, I advised him instead to go immediately to the nearest police station which is just a stone’s away and ask for assistance.

I wonder why criminal elements could openly ply their activities in an area very near two police stations, and worst not even a policeman or a barangay tanod could be seen to assist when incidents like this happen. Or are these policemen busy playing computers or watching TV inside their office? Well, I found the answer when I tried to peep on the window at their office right after that door was held up just across their headquarters. Perhaps, Councilor Nick Aliping who is the committee chairman on peace and order could look into this right honorable Aliping?
King Arthur is again back to business operating his peryahan cum pasugalan at Sto. Nino Barangay in slaughterhouse compound. Perhaps this man wants to prove he is really a King and untouchable the reason why he came back with his bingo, pulley and dropball games and I just wonder if there was and how much are the cash-sunduans, the reason why the King remains unfazed by bulabog? Right barangay Captain and officials of Sto. Nino Barangay? Ano rin sey mo bos tsip Superintendent Agripino Javier ng Baguio City Police Office”?
I am disappointed with some of the offices that handle the amnesty ordinance of structures with no building permit but want to avail of said amnesty for the connection of electrical power from the Benguet Electric Coop.

First is the Beneco not careful in assisting applicants? Some of their staff don’t scrutinize all papers being submitted to them, the reason why some applicants get angry and impatient. The same is true with the special services division at the City Mayor’s Office.

Could you imagine an applicant going back and forth daily at their offices just to complete the papers which they ought to add every time these applicants go back to their offices? Hay sino ba naman ang hindi mahahayblad? What I could say is these offices are just too lousy. Whew!!


Why many Filipinos are going abroad

Jhunie B. Wahayna

The latest population of our country today is over the 90 million mark. A fraction of this "millions" of Filipinos are actually not in the Philippines all the time. They are in other countries finding a living and sending money to their families back home.

While the statistics from the government isn't clear, one thing is quite clear, about 10% of RP's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) comes from remittances of OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers).

The GDP is a rough estimate of a country's output. It's quite silly when 10% of RP's GDP is coming from other countries. Technically it is not really its output, it just happen that money is pouring in to the country due to remittances to help our economy afloat. In fact, OFWs are called "Bagong Bayani" (New Heroes) in the Philippines.

Every year, more and more filipinos are leaving abroad to look for a greener pasture. In search for a more comfortable life, they leave their families, made sacrifices and usually suffer the consequences of leaving.

Filipinos are regarded to have close family ties. But this tradition is defied by many Filipinos, mostly women, who leave their children. Children are left at the mercy of relatives who unfortunately, are unkind to these kids. From what I have gathered, these children who were left by their mothers are confident that their children are in good hands, but the situation is the opposite, they are maltreated and abused by their own relatives.

In other cases while parents are away working abroad, they presumed that the money they are sending is in the right hands, but only to find out that their kids are not in school and the greedy relatives are the ones savoring and exploiting the money that should have been for their children.

In worst case scenarios, when mothers get home, the three kids she left with her husband are now four. Really saddening but it's a fact. Other Filipino workers leave the Philippines in a “standing” position and with full of life, but came back in a “lying” position with no life at all, amusing to hear but a sad fact, even a tragedy.

Despite these, many are still unshakable to leave their families behind, sacrificing countless relevant occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, Christmas, and among others. Many are still finding ways to leave Philippines and embrace a whole new different world.
This question has been present the whole time but the answer seemed always elusive, addressing these problems is always given little importance, maybe because the government per se benefits from the remittances that these OFW bring.

I believe that to be able to give quality life to your family's future is not by leaving them behind. It's not providing them with all the material things they need. It's more on your physical presence felt during the child’s formative years. It's very basic, and very important.

Damn with the exclusive school, damn with the signature clothes, damn with exclusive subdivisions, damn with luxury cars!! Enough! People have matured but they lack decorous thinking. Who says there is bright future when you work abroad? Who guarantees success in going abroad?

Should OFWs be heralded for bravely facing loneliness, boredom, sacrifice and courage of working far from their loved ones? Are they really the modern heroes for boosting Philippine economy? Are they really heroes for sacrificing their family in search of a better future? Or should they be questioned how they can bear leaving their families?

If this is the price I have to pay for working abroad, I’d rather stay here. I may not have an SUV and a three-storey house in an exclusive subdivision, I may not have signature clothes and expensive perfumes, my kids may not have entered an expensive school, but I can claim that even without these luxuries, my family can still leave a modest and comfortable life. My family is intact, I have no worries, and I won’t have to gain the pain of being away from them.The real reason why many Filipinos are going abroad is because of “economic” survival.


Being and keeping it human

Grace Bandoy

There are gazillions of things out there that set us apart from the animals in this world although we become more animalistic than them sometimes, I wish to share this reading, enjoy!
The seven human endowments are:
1) self-awareness or self-knowledge
2) imagination and conscience
3) volition or will power
4) an abundant mentality
5) courage and consideration
6) creativity
The seventh endowment is self-renewal.

These are all unique human endowments; animals don’t possess any of them. But, they are all on a continuum of low to high levels.
Be proactive is the endowment of self-knowledge or self-awareness, an ability to choose your response (response-ability). At the low end of the continuum are the ineffective people who transfer responsibility by blaming themselves or others or their environment—anything or anybody “out there”—so that they are not responsible for results.

At the upper end of the continuum toward increasing effectiveness is self-awareness: “I know my tendencies; I know the scripts or programs that are in me; but I am not those scripts. I can rewrite my scripts.” You are aware that you are the creative force of your life. You are not the victim of conditions or conditioning. You can choose your response to any situation, to any person. So on the continuum; you go from being a victim to self-determining creative power through self-awareness of the power to choose your response to any condition or conditioning.
Begin with the End in Mind is the endowment of imagination and conscience. If you are the programmer, write the program. Decide what you’re going to do with the time, talent, and tools you have to work with: “Within my small circle of influence, I’m going to decide.” At the low end of the continuum is the sense of futility about goals, purposes, and improvement efforts. After all, if you are totally a victim, if you are a product of what has happened to you, then what can you realistically do about anything?

So you wander through life hoping things will turn out well, that the environment may be positive, so you can have your daily bread and maybe some positive fruits. At the other end is a sense of hope and purpose: “I have created the future in my mind. I can see it, and I can imagine what it will be like.” Only people have the capability to imagine a new course of action and pursue it conscientiously.
Put First Things First is the endowment of willpower. At the low end of the continuum is the ineffective, flaky life of floating and coasting, avoiding responsibility and taking the easy way out, exercising little initiative or willpower. And at the top end is a highly disciplined life that focuses heavily on the highly important but not necessarily urgent activities of life. It’s a life of leverage and influence. On the continuum, you go from being driven by crises and having can’t and won’t power to being focused on the important but not necessarily urgent matters of your life and having the will power to realize them.


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