Driver jailed, arraigned: Bus firm in mishap seeks settlement with victims

>> Friday, February 28, 2014

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The driver of the GV Florida Transport Inc. bus involved in the recent accident which claimed the lives of at least 14 passengers here was arraigned Friday even as the bus firm sought settlement with the victims.

Senior Supt. Oliver Enmodias, Mt. Province police director, said Edgar Renon, driver of the bus that plunged into a ravine last Feb. 7, was arraigned before the Bontoc regional trial court on charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and serious physical injuries.

At least 31 people on board the Sagada-bound passenger bus also sustained serious injuries, with at least five of them reportedly still confined in hospitals in Bontoc, Baguio City and Metro Manila. 

Renon has been detained since Feb. 14 or a week after he was discharged from the Bontoc General Hospital where he was confined for injuries he sustained in the accident. 

Reports said Renon, who earlier had expressed remorse for the mishap, was having a hard time raising the P80,000 bail for his temporary liberty.

“He has no money to post the required bail,” Enmodias said. 

The fatalities in the Bontoc mishap included comedian Arvin “Tado” Jimenez and Katrina Gozos, a graduating college student from Lipa City, Batangas. 

Jimenez’s widow Lei had her head shaved Wednesday morning in front of the Florida Transport terminal in Sampaloc, Manila to protest what she alleged was the insufficient attention the bus firm was giving to the victims.

She also scored the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for its alleged negligence in ensuring that bus companies comply with road safety regulations to prevent road accidents.

The LTFRB is holding a hearing at the accident site in Bontoc on Feb. 28, which Renon is expected to attend.

LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez announced this during the board’s first hearing on the accident Wednesday, during which he told GV Florida lawyer Alex Versoza to explain in writing his admission that the ill-fated bus actually belonged to Dagupan Bus Co. Inc. 

The bus was supposedly a private unit that was repainted by GV Florida and used the license plate belonging to a bus of another company, Mt. Province Cable Tours, whose franchises were earlier bought by GV Florida without the board’s approval. 

The discovery was made after a check of the chassis and engine number of the ill-fated bus revealed that these belonged to Dagupan Bus Co. 

The LTFRB Wednesday handed over checks each worth P150,000 to the victims’ families.

This was a special arrangement since the bus was technically a “colorum” vehicle, or operating illegally, and thus could not be recognized by the bus firm’s insurance provider.

The amount was raised by GV Florida and a number of insurance providers.

Jimenez’s widow was present during the hearing but was not able to claim the check. 

Ginez said Mrs. Jimenez asked that a representative claim the check for her, but the representative needed a special power of attorney to claim it and would just come back once the document is available.

This, as management of the Cagayan Valley-based GV Florida Bus

Lines has reportedly reached a settlement with some of those injured in the mishap. Enmodias, Mt. Province police director, said the bus firm’s representative, former police colonel Rudy Villano, has reached an agreement with the recuperating victims.

At least 31 passengers were injured in the mishap.

Part of the amicable settlement, according to reports, included medicine and hospitalization expenses of those injured who are still recuperating in various hospitals in the Cordillera and Metro Manila.

Enmodias, however, expressed doubt whether the families of those who died when the GV Florida bus plunged into a ravine, would settle with the company.

The family of the comedian Arvin “Tado” Jimenez, one of the 14 fatalities, reportedly vowed to pursue criminal and civil actions against the bus firm.

Ghads Rodelias, a friend of victim Katrina Gozos, a graduating college student from Lipa City, Batangas, said he doubts if the Gozos family would give in to a settlement.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is readying emergency assistance for the more than 600 displaced workers of GV Florida, whose operations were suspended for 30 days.

Lawyer Erwin Aquino, DOLE mediator and arbiter for Cagayan Valley, said their office would extend assistance to the workers, mostly drivers and conductors, whose livelihood have been affected due to the suspension imposed by the LTFRB.

“We are still discussing what forms of assistance we would extend. It may be in the form of livelihood or soft loans or temporary employment. Our regional director is now coordinating with our national office about it,” he said.

Aquino said they are also considering long-term assistance to the workers in case the LTFRB would extend its suspension order or revoke the franchise of GV Florida. 

GV Florida’s 288 buses, whose operations practically cover the entire Northern Luzon, have been grounded since Feb. 8 or a day after the Bontoc mishap.

MalacaƱang on Wednesday reassured the victims’ families that they would still get insurance benefits from GV Florida even if the ill-fated bus was found to be a “colorum” or operating illegally.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez was discussing the matter with the GV Florida management.

In a statement, Virgilio Florida Jr., president of GV Florida Transport Inc.,had conveyed their sympathies to the families of the 14 passengers who were killed when their Sagada-bound bus fell into THE 120-meter ravine.

Meanwhile, Rey Luis, the company’s contact person in Baguio City, said as of Monday, four of the injured passengers remained in a hospital in Baguio while another one was still recuperating at the Bontoc General Hospital.

Luis said the family of one of the fatalities from Mt. Province entered into a settlement with the company last Feb. 14.

Contrary to earlier reports, the company, Florida said, has been and continues to be in touch with the victims’ families, assuring them of the company’s commitment to fulfill “its moral and financial responsibility.”

In fact, Florida said they had released and transmitted funds to cover transport and hospitalization of the injured passengers as well as burial expenses for most of the fatalities.

Florida said they also respect the 30-day suspension of operations imposed on the company a day after the mishap by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The board is now investigating the bus firm after its unit involved in the accident was found to be “colorum” or operating illegally. 

Florida said the company is also conducting its own inquiry into the incident “in line with our corporate credo and guidelines on the competence and efficiency of our crew and the safety of our passengers.”

The livelihood of GV Florida’s more than 500 employees, mostly drivers and conductors, have been affected after the LTFRB grounded the firm’s 288 buses, whose routes practically covered the entire Northern Luzon.


82-year-old slay witness shot dead in Nueva Ecija

CABANATUAN CITY  – An octogenarian witness in a killing 18 years ago was shot dead on Valentine’s Day by a lone assassin in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija, three days before he was to testify in the case.

Senior Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, said Alfredo Manawis, 82, a widower, was shot in the head while watching television in his home in Barangay Calabasa, Gabaldon town at around 12:30 p.m. Feb. 14.

Senior Insp. Rodolfo Racho, Gabaldon police chief, said the gunman fled aboard an unlicensed black Mio Yamaha motorcycle toward Dingalan, Aurora.

Racho said the gunman was described as 5’8” tall and medium built, and was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, maong pants, and a baseball cap.

Racho said the killing might be related to the killing of a certain Apolinario Lazaro on Feb. 20, 1996, in which Manawis would take the witness stand today.

Lazaro’s nephew Orlando Lazaro Jr. was arrested for the killing, which reportedly stemmed from a land dispute.

SPO1 Arnold Barrogo, officer-on-case, said Orlando was also linked to the Sept. 20, 2012 killing of Apolinario’s brother Feliciano.


1 dead, 5 hurt as SUV falls into Benguet ravine

TUBLAY, Benguet  – A farmer was killed, while five of his companions were badly hurt when the Toyota SUV they were riding in dove into a  55-meter ravine here in Sitio Sapuan, Barangay Ambassador afternoon of Feb. 14.

Tublay police said the south bound private Toyota Hi-lux with plate number TTF-652 driven by Lito Mirason was negotiating a rough road when it was about to overtake a motorcycle, but  suddenly fell down into the ravine.

The driver’s brother, Anselmo, 58, also a farmer, from Ambuclao, Bokod town in Benguet, was immediately killed in the accident, declared Benguet General Hospital physician Mary Joy Torio while Wilson Licwasen, 44, also a farmer, from Kabayan town, Benguet and residing at Sapuan sustained injuries on his right foot and left hand.

Willy Licwasen, 17 , from  Sapuan sustained abrasions on his left foot while  Alex Costino, 70, also a farmer, from sitio Coroz, also in Ambassador sustained abdominal injuries and abrasion on his left eye.

DindoCostino, 21, also a farmer from sitio Coroz, Ambassador was hurt at this left foot while the older Mirason y Asiong, 61, also a farmer from sitio Labey, also in Ambassador, Tublay had a fracture in the right hand.

All victims were brought by citizens who responded and rescuers from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Benguet at Benguet General Hospital in La Trinidad, Benguet for treatment. 

Tublay police station commander Senior Insp. Davis Locloc said investigators are still probing the cause of the accident to determine the culpabilities of the latest vehicular mishap in the region.

More than a week ago, 15 were killed while more than 30 others including two foreign tourists and comedian Arvin “Tado” Gutierrez were killed when a Florida bus plunged into a 120-meter ravine in Talubin, Bontoc, Mt. Province.

A day after, another passenger jeepney ferrying more than 50 passengers fell into a canal in Licuan-Baay town in Abra, killing five and injuring 40 more.


Number coding suspended:Panagbenga highlights set; tourists flock to Baguio

By Joseph Zambrano

BAGUIO CITY – As tourists flocked here, highlights of the  19thPanagbenga or the Baguio Flower Festival kicked off here this weekend with the Grand Street Parade and  Grand Float Parade with Marching Band competition while Session Road in Bloom will open Feb. 24  until  March 2.

To accommodate visitors, the number coding scheme for private vehicles was suspended last week including Feb. 24 and 25.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domoganin Administrative Order No. 020, suspended the number coding scheme for private vehicles only.

 The mayor said there was need to suspend the number coding scheme for private vehicles in the city to  allow  residents and visitors   to enjoy and have a stress-free journey.

Earlier, the city hosted the  annual alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy  on  Feb. 13 to 16 .

Domogan also directed personnel of the  Baguio City Police Office  to extend  assistance to the public for the identification of appropriate parking spaces for huge number of vehicles in the city on said dates


2 Kalinga cops wounded in pursuing suspect feted

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines  -- Two cops who were wounded while pursuing a wanted criminal last week in Kalinga were feted for their bravery in action, gallantry and heroism in serving the Filipino people.

PO2 Mitchell Fojslee Caldengon and Police Officer 1 Leon Galamto received their Medalyang Sugatang Magiting medals from their bedside at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Wednesday morning from Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez.

Both were confined at the hospital since Feb. 14.

“Giving them this medal is only a small gesture to show our support and appreciation to their dedication and patriotism,” Nerez said.

Caldengon and Galamto were part of the police operating team comprising of operatives from the Regional Intelligence Division, Cordillera police and the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) that were supposed to serve the warrant of arrest for multiple murder against Willie Sagasag, 42, at Barangay Tulgao, Tinglayan, Kalinga when they were fired upon by the suspect and his cohorts as the police were approaching the house at 3 a.m. on Feb. 13.

Sagasag is one of most wanted persons nationwide who carries a reward of P600,000 for his capture.

He was reportedly able to escape after shooting the two policemen.

Galamto was hit in the right stomach while Caldengon has a gunshot wound to the right arm.

Sagasag’s wife was also wounded with a stray bullet that hit Galamto.

Sagasag was charged for the crime of multiple and frustrated murder, robbery with violence and intimidation of persons and violation of RA 8894 before the sala of Judge Milnar T. Lammawin of the regional trial court  of the Second Judicial Region of Branch 25, Tabuk City.

Another case of frustrated murder was filed against him after the Feb. 13 incident.

Sagasag together with his three companions killed Barangay Captain Eduardo Wandaga and Magdalena Dacay who was hit by stray bullet during a wedding celebration in sitioBalong, Tabuk, Kalinga in 1995. 

The suspect went into hiding and was arrested in April 1998 but escaped jail again.

Again he landed in jail in 2001 and detained in Kalinga Police provincial Office but requested to be transferred to Tuguegarao, Cagayan.

While on the way to Tuguegarao, Sagasag escaped again.

Nerez said the family of the wounded policemen that they will receive help from the Cordillera police while  the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund Inc. (PSMBFI) will give a financial assistance amounting to P10,000 each for the two wounded policemen.

Sagasag together with his three companions killed barangay captain Eduardo Wandaga and Magdalena Dacay who was hit by stray bullet during a wedding celebration in Sitio Balong, Tabuk, Kalinga in 1995.

He went into hiding and was arrested on April 1998 but escaped after sensing that he is guilty for the crime of Murder which took effect on January 1999.

Again he landed in jail in 2001 and detained in Kalinga Police provincial Office but requested to be transferred to Tuguegarao, Cagayan where he again escaped while on their way to Tuguegarao on-board a passenger jeep escorted by 2 BJMP personnel when blocked by heavily armed men who forcibly took Sagasag and killed the two jail guards and one civilian.   


CAR bags awards in Luzon press con

By Rhe-Ann Ngayaan

After bagging 31 awards in individual contests and 13 in group contest,Team Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) escalated its performance as 4th runner-up from last year’s 5thrunner-up in the overall ranking during the 13th Luzonwide Higher Education Press Conference held at BatisAramin Hotel and Resort, Lucban, Quezon on Feb. 12-14.

With over 141 universities and colleges coming from Regions I (Ilocos), II (Cagayan Valley), III (Central Luzon), IV-A (CALABARZON), IV-B (MIMARO), V (Bicol), and VII (Cebu) as the guest delegate,  CAR delegates  earned 83 points in the group contest and 180 points in the individual contest . This year, the team listed 263 total points from last year’s 84 points.

In the individual contest, out of around 739 delegates, CAR reaped three first places, four second, three third, two fourth, one fifth, three sixth, eight seventh, one eighth, one ninth, and five tenth with a total of 31 places accumulating 180 points compared to last year’s 75 points.

In the result of the group competition, on the other hand, CAR seized the following places: one first, three third, two fourth, two fifth, one sixth, three seventh and one tenth gaining 83 points from the previous nine points.
Meanwhile, the Calabarzon Region emerged the champion this year. The top ten placers received certificates of recognition, plus trophies for the first five in the group contest.

Team CAR was composed of University of the Cordillera’s The Alternative, Saint Louis University’s White and Blue, King’s College of the Philippines’ The Loquitor, Benguet State University’s The Mountain Collegian, KalingaApayao State University’s Earthline, Baguio College of Technology’s The Atom, including the respective school publications of Abra State Institute of Science and Techology –Main, Bangued and Lagangilang campuses, Divine Word College of Bangued, Ifugao State University, Keystone College, and Mountain Province State Polytechnic College.

Themed “Campus Press: Webbing Accountability and Influence to Nationalistic Fervor”, the said conference was keynoted by Prof. Eros S. Atalla, faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Santo Tomas. Attalla is a recipient of Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards first prize for Literature in 2006.

According to Atalla, “Ang isang tunay na dyurnalist ay natatanto niya ang kaibhan ng pulitika sa pakikitungo sa admin, ang tsismis sa balita; naihihiwalay niya ang usapin sa usapan, at na awari niya kung kelan siya bubulong at sisigaw.”

“Ang lahat ng pagsasanay na  ito ay paghahanda sa mas malaking mundo, totoong mundo, hindi nag bibirong mundo,” Atalla said.


48 arrested in Pangasinan; P.5 M illegal drugs seized

By Mar T Supnad

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- Police recently arrested of 48 persons involved in illegal drugs and seized  P530,000 worth of illegal drugs.

Senior Supt. Sterling Blanco, new officer in charge provincial police chief met chief of police and provincial staff to reduce distribution of marijuana and shabu in Pangasinan by running after distributors.

A veteran intelligence officer and recipient of various awards, Blanco said that once the supply of illegal drugs is lessened this will also mean reduction of pushers since they cannot buy illegal drugs anymore.

The OIC provincial police director reported in two weeks under his stint, a total of 35 operations were conducted, resulting to arrest of 48 persons and the confiscation of 79.79 grams of shabu worth P518.245 and 140.302 grams of dried marijuana leaves worth P10,522.

He reported 46 cases have been filed in courts.

Blanco said he also launched information drives in elementary and secondary schools which students, teachers, barangay officials and members of non-government organizations attended.

A graduate of the Phil. Military Academy, Blanco was designated by Camp Crame itself two weeks ago as head of Pangasinan police, ending the more than a year of squabble between Gov Amado Espino and Senior Supt. Marlou Chan, former provincial police director.



2 suspects in shooting of Abra cop arrested
BANGUED, Abra-Two suspects were separately arrested by authorities after one of them allegedly shot a police officer who was about to arrest a suspect involve in a shooting incident here in Barangay Cabuloan.

Senior Supt. Benjamin M. Lusad,  Abra police director identified the suspect as Rodolfo Mercurio Belleza alias Levie, 54, businessman of Cabuloan.

The suspect reportedly shot and wounded SPO3 Eusebio Bermudez Budona, 41, assigned at the PIB Abra Police Provincial Office.

 SP03 Budona was then in a follow-up operation against Kevin Rafal a.k.a. Kalbo and Randy Calibuso, the suspects in a shooting incident in the same Barangay on February 18, 2014 after Rafal shot One  DeoTuscanoAlcantara, a businessman and resident of Zone 3, Bangued who is now confined at the Abra Provincial Hospital together with  SP03 Budona who sustained injury on his abdomen.

Lusad said Belleza was arrested in his residence early morning of Feb. 19 and recovered from him was a Cal. 40 pistol with loaded with three bullets.

Kevin Rafal surrendered to operatives of the Abra PPO, Regional Public Safety Battalion, Regional Intelligence Division and CIDG-Abra.

 On the other hand, a 55- year old farmer was arrested after a concerned citizen informed patrolling policemen that he was carrying a firearm while irrigating his rice field in barangay Cabaroan, Tayum, Abra early morning of Feb. 19.

The suspect was identified as PablitoTuscano Bose, a resident of Barangay Macray, Bangued who was found in possession of a homemade Cal. 22 pistol without serial number inserted with a magazine loaded with six bullets.

When police asked him documents to possess the firearm, he failed to show any that resulted in the confiscation of the gun.

Belleza and Bose together with the confiscated firearm are now under the custody of the concerned police station for documentation prior filing of charges against them.

 Chief Superintendent  Isagani Nerez, Regional Director  of the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera, said that their efforts in anti-crime operations are gaining headway and a proof of Cordillera police’ s resolve to implement the law.

Two suspects jailed for stabbing victim
BAGUIO CITY -- Two men were arrested here along Magsaysay Avenue, corner Adarna St. and Dizon Subdivision Sunday for stabbing a 24-year old helper identified as JomarAmpoc Velasco.

Police Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, regional police director named the suspects as Jerry Kingad, 26, of Ambongdolan, Tublay, Benguet and Giovani Kingad, here of Purok 9, Upper Pinget.

 Initial police investigation showed that the victim and his companions were waiting for a taxi at the entrance of Dizon Subdivision when the suspects challenged them for a fight.

Jerry immediately brought out a knife but the victim grabbed and punched him. Jerry managed to swing the knife several times that hit the victim’s feet, neck and right ribs while the other suspect Giovanni punched the victim and his other companions several times.

The suspects were immediately nabbed by responding police of Police Station 2 and are now detained at Baguio City Jail while the victim was brought to the Baguio General Hospital for medical treatment. -- Joanne Christine Mocay

Carnapped motorcycle recovered: 3 suspects jailed
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Three suspected thieves were arrested here last week for allegedly carnapping a motorcycle.  

In Camp Dangwa, La Trinidadd, Benguet, regional police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, identified the suspects as Harold Taguiam, Sawi Din-ang and Onyok Duguiang from Barangay Dangoy, Lubuagan of this city.

The owner of the motorcycle was identified as Eden Villanueva, 42 of Purok 5, Bulanao.

According to Villanueva, his vehicle was usually used by his nephew Herbert Duguiang in going to school but sometime morning of Jan. 29, the owner parked the motorcycle in front of Kalinga Astrodome unattended and when he went back  where it was parked around 10 a.m., he noticed the motorcycle was missing.

Afternoon of Feb. 14, the motorcycle was  found parked inside the compound of  Hilda Pay-ong, 30  of Sitio Kasabaan, Purok 7, Bulanao.

A certain Gollingoy, the compound owner said  she left her residence around 8 a.m. Feb. 14  and did not close the gate of her compound and when she got back home at around 5 p.m., she noticed a black Honda TMX 155 without plate number parked inside her compound.

The recovered Motorcycle was brought to Tabuk police station-- Joanne Christine Mocay
Scattered marijuana leaves leads to arrest of cultivator
KIBUNGAN, Benguet -- Scattered marijuana leaves along a trail resulted to the arrest of a 27-year old suspected marijuana cultivator here at SitioLanipew, Barangay Tacadang, early Saturday morning.

 Senior Supt. Rodolfo Azurin, Benguet police director, identified the suspect as  Daniel Gayam-os Gammat, 27, of Sitio Dalipey, Tacadang.

Senior Insp. Andres Calaowa, Kibungan police chief, said they noticed the scattered marijuana leaves, followed the trail until they reached a shanty where they saw the suspect having coffee inside.

They immediately placed him under arrest and confiscated a Cal. 38 revolver from him.

At the backyard of the shanty, they discovered a marijuana plantation planted with 76 pieces fully grown marijuana plants.

Gammat together with the confiscated firearm are now under the custody of Kibungan police station.

Charges for illegal drugs and possession of firearm are set to be filed against him.

9 suspects arrested; P1.9  marijuana plants uprooted
CAMP BADO DANGWA La Trinidad Benguet – Nine individuals were arrested while Some P2 million worth of marijuana plants was confiscated in separate police operations in the Cordillera last week.

Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, regional police director, said out of the nine individual, four were minors while assorted drug paraphernalia were seized on Feb 12.

In Baguio City, Senior Supt. Jesus D. Cambay, Jr., city police director, identified the arrested suspects as Yunos Darang Sabuyugan, 39; Hanipah Darang Abdullah, 36; Jidat Azis Benito, 18; Bashim Azis Batumulok, 21,and the four minors, all natives of Marawi City.

They were all arrested around 5 a.m. their resident at Barangay Crystal Cave Baguio City.\

Personnel of the Baguio City Police Office, Regional Intelligence Division and Public Safety Battalion, Philippine Drug enforcement Agency and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group arrested the suspects following search warrant issued by Judge Ma. Theresa Dolores C. Gomez-Estoesta of the Regional Trial Court,  Branch 7, Manila.

Police also seized 21.74 grams of “shabu” and one Cal. 22 magnum with six rounds of ammunition.

In Abra, police also arrested a 52-year old farmer who was reportedly  the number one drug personality in Villaviciosa town.

Senior Supt. Benjamin Lusad, provincial police director identified the arrested man as Crispin Domingo Reyes a.k.a. “Boy” who was nabbed in his resident at Barangay Lumaba following search warrant issued by Raphiel F. Alzate, the presiding judge of RTC Branch 58.

Seized from his house were three aluminum foil strips with a suspected shabu residue; four transparent sachets containing shabu residue and  drug paraphernalia.

During the operation, representatives from the media and barangay  chairman Victor Day-em of Barangay Lumaba, Villaviciosa witnessed the confiscation of  items.

All suspects and pieces of evidence confiscated are now under custody of concerned police units, while minors were turned over to Dept. of Scoial Works and Development in Baguio.

Meanwhile, Kapangan, Benguet police uprooted and burned some 9,650 fully grown marijuana plants worth P1, 930, 000 found in 10 plantations in Sitios Lod-on and Tico, Gadang, Kapangan Feb 11.

Tabuk CENRO, lawmen confiscate illegal lumber
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The Tabuk City Community Environment and Natural Resources Office and other lawmen confiscated last week illegal lumber in Barangay Cudal, here.

Bonifacio Manganip of CENRO-Tabuk reported the anti-illegal logging team  composed  of police personnel, army troops and staff from the CENRO, swooped down on a vacant lot in Barangay Cudal where the assorted flitches of narra, sagat and dao lumber  were secretly kept.

The CENRO valued the illegal lumber measuring 1,147 board feet at P48,220. 

These were impounded at the 77th Infantry Battalion Camp in Barangay Bantay, this city.

The raiding team acted on information  provided by a concerned resident, Manganip revealed.

The CENRO action is part of intensified campaign against illegal logging in the province as support to Executive Order 23 issued by President Benigno C. Aquino, which mandates stop to cutting of trees in residual forests in the country. -- Larry Lopez

Kalinga police arrests more wanted persons 
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Two more   wanted persons in the province were arrested   barely two days after the assumption to office of Senior Supt. Victor K. Wanchakan, OIC of Kalinga provincial police office. Apprehended last week were  Gary Hora Macababbad, 35, of Appas and Lawig Buyagan Agod, 27, of Nambaran, both of  Tabuk City.

Police said Macababbad was wanted for frustrated homicide with warrant of arrest  issued by  a regional trial court in  Roxas, Isabela.

Meanwhile, no bail was recommended for Agod who had an arrest warrant for murder.

He is  also listed as the  top most wanted in the provincial level for the first quarter of 2014.
Wanchakan  on his first stint Feb 3, led police in arresting  Francisco Valderama y Tabuinsay of Bulanao, Tabuk City  for  charges of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide and damage to property.

On the same day, Tabuk police nabbed a certain Oliver M. Rodriquez for a case of  violation of Republic Act 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law with no bail recommended.

On Feb. 4,  joint personnel from KPPSC and Roxas Municipal Police Station arrested MathanSangdaan y Mullat, 25, single, of Tabuk City for robbery with violence against person.

Joint teams from Tabuk CPS, PIB and PAIDSOTG, and KalingaPPO  also arrested a certain Sammy Sabawil, 47 of Nambaran, Tabuk City for illegal drugs. Arrested person was the alleged leader of the Sabawil Group known to be responsible in transporting/delivering illegal drugs in Kalinga.

Wanchakan committed to intensify law enforcement with the support and cooperation of the people to ensure that crime prevention measures and programs will be put in place to better the peace and order situation in the province. He assured  that more arrest of law violators are expected  in the coming days to eventually reduce the number of criminal elements in Kalinga.  -- Geraldine G. Dumallig

Man eludes checkpoint; later caught with gun
BANGUED, Abra -- Police operatives arrested aamn for illegal possession of firearms in a checkpoint night of Feb. 12.

Members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion arrested Demetrio Dacquel Vargas Jr., 47, caretaker and a resident of Angad-Bilis, Bangued, after he tried to avoid the police checkpoint at barangay Agtangao.

Vargas was on board a motorcycle when he suddenly made a U-turn to avoid the police checkpoint but he was immediately caught by the cops after chasing him that resulted in confiscation of his Cal. 45 pistol and a magazine loaded with seven bullets.

Vargas showed a firearm license card of said firearm registered under a certain Robert James BarreyroDoctura.
Vargas was brought to the Bangued municipal police station prior to filing of charges against him. -- MelynApilis, KiaraCuyopan 

Tuba rape suspect nabbed
TUBA, Benguet -- A rape suspect listed as the No. 3 top most wanted person for 2014 was recently caught by combined forces of Tuba and Rosario, La Union police here.

Senior Supt. Rodolfo S. Azurin, Benguet police director, identified the arrested person as Rommel Andres Paneda, 37, farmer of Bacani, Rosario.

 Paneda was charged for raping  a 35- year old woman who alleged that he forced himself on her when she fell asleep inside her house at Kennon Road in Tuba after their drinking session night of Sept. 23, 2010.    

Itogon man surrenders firearm
ITOGON, Benguet – A certain Peter Jose Guibac, 50, of Barangay Tuding here surrendered a Cal. 22 magnum, pistol to La Trinidad, Benguet police last week.

Chief Supt. Isagani R. Nerez, Cordillera police director in the Cordillera, said  “We are serious in enforcement of the law against illegal possession of firearms and we are appealing to the public for their full cooperation and support for more arrests and surrender of loose firearms.”

PROCOR celebrates 23rd PNP foundation day
CAMP BADO DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet - The Police Regional Office Cordillera recently celebrated its 23rd Foundation Day with Dr. Virgilio C. Bautista as guest of honor and speaker Feb. 10.

 “Today we celebrate another milestone in the history of the Philippine National Police, our 23rd founding anniversary. It was more than two decades ago when Republic Act No. 6975 known as "An Act establishing the PN under a reorganized Department of the Interior and Local Government" was passed to constitute the full merger of the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police with Police Director General Cesar Nazareno serving as the first chief of the PNP,” said Chief Supt. Isagani R. Nerez, regional police director.

“We also remember our fallen heroes.  We pay tribute to our comrades who paid the ultimate price of giving up their lives so that others may live. But being heroes is not just about giving up lives. Todays modern heroes speak of how each and every one of us carry the stripes on our sleeves or the ranks placed upon our shoulders,” he said.

 The celebration highlighted awarding of 11 police personnel for  outstanding achievements and the giving of tokens to the three widows of the fallen policemen by Bautista assisted by Nerez.

Deserving PNP personnel who received the MedalyangKagalingan were Supt. Joenel M. Aurelio, Senior Insp. Dino W. Cogasi, SPO2 Francis Pawe, SPO1 Paulino A. Lubos Jr. and PO3 John Michael T. Castillo. Medalyang Kasanayan was also given to Chief Insp. Gemma V. Braganza while Medalyang Papuri was given to the following, Senior Inspector Ceasar D. Sab-it, Senior Inspector Benson B. Macli-ing, PO3 Ernesto A. Macasling, SPO1 Fritz M. Tolito and PO3 Jeoffrey C. Bayading. -- J.C. Mocay, K. Cuyopan and M. Apilis


Shahanis file petition vs P’sinan power coop, ERC

URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan   – Pangasinan sixth district board member Ranjit Ramos Shahani and his mother, former senator Leticia Ramos Shahani, filed Tuesday a petition against the Pangasinan III Electric Cooperative (Panelco) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) over what they described as an “incredible, whimsical, and unjust” power rate increase in December last year.

In their 20-page petition filed before the prosecutor’s office, the Shahanis and Rogelio Arcioso, vice president of the Federation of Consumers Association of San Nicolas and a Panelco subscriber, criticized the electric cooperative for the power rate increase of P5 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) and the ERC for approving the hike.

They said Panelco’s and ERC’s actions violated the public’s right to due process.

They alleged the rate increase, unless stopped, would cause suffering and injury to the power consumers. 

Panelco supplies power in the towns situated in the eastern part of the province.

In December last year, the Panelco board of directors approved a resolution adopting a staggered payment scheme for the rate increase. The scheme was never followed as Panelco decided to collect the P5 per kwh increase at one time.

The power rate increase was included in the billing for the months of December 2013 and January and would reportedly continue, unless the court acts on the matter, the complainants said.


Ecija mayor wants CCTVs installed to fight crimes

TALAVERA, Nueva Ecija – This town’s mayor has sought allocation of P2 million for purchase of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to arrest the rising tide of crimes and improve the overall peace and order situation here.
In a press briefing,

Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez said she has requested the municipal council, led by Vice Mayor AnselmoRodiel III, to earmark the amount for the acquisition of eight CCTV cameras to be installed in strategic places.

Santos-Martinez said the high-definition, wireless surveillance cameras would help immensely in improving the peace and order situation. “With these CCTV cameras, we expect to be able to solve and deter crimes,” she said.

The CCTV cameras, which will be linked to a central monitor, are also expected to advance quick dispatch, rapid response and better coordination by the police, particularly during emergencies; enhance monitoring of crowds, and spot crime suspects.

The P2-million allocation is contained in a P120-million loan application that the municipal government is seeking with the Land Bank of the Philippines to finance its various development projects included in the Annual Investment Plan for 2014. 

Santos-Martinez has asked the municipal council to pass an ordinance authorizing the proposed terms and conditions from the Landbank.

Earlier, the mayor had expressed her dismay over five unsolved killings last month and urged the municipal police chief, Superintendent Reynaldo de la Cruz, to go after the perpetrators.

Among the unsolved killings were those of two vendors whose bodies were found in the public cemetery on Jan. 21, the fatal shooting of a 71-year-old widower on Jan. 18, and the gun slaying of a 62-year-old barangay councilman on Jan. 5.

The municipal government’s plan to acquire CCTV cameras to combat crimes is apart from an earlier proposal of the provincial chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) to set up surveillance cameras in 600 barangays.

In August last year, PeƱaranda town Mayor Ferdinand Abesamis, LMP provincial chapter president, said they would work on the proposal starting in his hometown where they were eyeing to set up CCTV cameras in nine barangays.

Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali had also sought the installation of 10 CCTV cameras in strategic locations in the province to keep watch over criminal elements round-the-clock and boost security.


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