Old, new faces vie in North, Central Luzon political ring

>> Saturday, October 24, 2015

Marcoses, Enriles, Ortegas, others file COCs 

Old and new faces, the hardened and neophytes in Northern and Central Luzon cast their lot in the political ring by filing their certificates of candidacy with the Commission on Elections last week.

Baguio City
In Baguio City, Congressman Nick Aliping will have Isabelo “Poppo” Cosalan for vice mayor with newsman colleague Arthur Alladiw, incumbent councilors Joel Alangsab, and Leandro Yangot; engineer Jun Orca, Jojo Cabato, lawyer Ron Perez, environmentalist Fred Fangonon, businessman and civic leader Rudy Paraan and businesswoman MyleneYaranon.

Under the Timpuyog ti Baguio, the slate includes former congressman Bernardo Vergara for the same position, incumbent mayor Mauricio Domogan for re-election, councilors Lourdes Tabanda, Bobby Ortega, Elmer Datuin, Elaine Sembrano,  lawyer Benny Bomogao, former councilors Bong Mandapat and ErdolfoBalajadia; and newcomers Lawyer Orate and Lilia Farinas. Councilor Fred Bagbagen is also running for vice mayor.

The other unofficial LP slate as of press time includes businessman Mark Go for congressman, former councilor and Indigenous Peoples rights lawyer Jose Molintas for mayor, incumbent vice mayor Ed Bilog for the same position, and incumbent councilor lawyer Tino Olowan for councilor.

Retired RTC Judge Del Claravall and incumbent councilor lawyer Peter Fianza are running as independent favorites for mayor and councilor, respectively, while incumbent councilor Richard Carino who is on his last term is gunning for a party-list seat for congress. We have yet to find out more about them.

In Benguet, it will be an interesting race between incumbent Congressman Ronald M. Cosalan and Governor Nestor B. Fongwan who finished his last three-year term. Both are outstanding performers as public officials of Benguet.

But observers said it is better for Benguet for the former to be allowed to finish his third and last three-year term as congressman so that he will continue the excellent job he has been doing on socio-economic programs and infrastructure. If so, there is a big chance Cosalan will retain his chairmanship of the vital public works committee in congress.

Cosalan who is the Liberal Party head will have incumbent Benguet Vice Governor Nelson C. Dangwa for governor with board member Florence Tingbaoen of Mankayan as the party’s vice gubernatorial bet.

Under them, Amor Moresto from Bokod and Kabayan will take a second run for a seat in the provincial board representing District 01. Pandong Balaodan of Bakun and Zee Radio is supporting the LP in Benguet and will run for a seat in the provincial board representing District 2.

The other unofficial bets in Benguet are for Governor at press time were– Board Member Jack Dulnuan, former vice governor Crescencio C. Pacalso and Itogon mayor Oca Camantiles. For vice governor, the unofficial list includes board member Concepcion Balao, Kabayan Mayor Faustino Aquisan, Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentres and former board member-lawyer Coy Nazarro.

In La Trinidad,Benguet, incumbent mayor Edna C. Tabanda will be challenged by vice mayor Romy Salda and former mayor-lawyer Greg Abalos Jr. An unofficial list of bets for councilors under Salda’s slate include incumbent councilors Estrella B. Adeban, Roderick C. Awingan, Renato B. Tereng,businessman Nestor “Bobot” Fongwan Jr., and newsman Jimmy Laking.

Mountain Province incumbents unopposed

In Mt. Province, incumbent Rep. Maximo Dalog, who is on his last term and Gov. Leonard Mayaenare running unopposed for the same positions.

“I would like all constituents and persons of  Mountain Province to have fair and equal treatment in benefits, employment, and partnership with government and not to be ignored due to political color”, the national-leadership  awardee and former mayor of Sabangan said.  

For the position of vice governor, incumbent Vice Gov.BonifacioLacwasan and Albert Paday-os filed their COCs. .

For Board Members: District l – DelfinSallidao, Raul Lapon, Florence Taguiba, Alfonso Kiat-ong, Stephen Afuyog, Angelo Fongafong, CarinoTamang, and Luke Chanasen.

Lapon, Taguiba, Kiatong, and Afuyog are incumbents.

District ll candidates are Salvador Dalang, Winston Calde, Evelyn Taclobao, Romeo Pagedped, Donato Danglose, Honorio Dominguez lll, and RomualdoSolang.

Calde, Pagedped, including Taclobao are incumbents with the third representing the Councilors’ League in the province.
List of candidates for the municipal levels were not secured as of press time. But for Bontoc, the capital town, vying for the position of mayor is only  incumbent Mayor Franklin Odsey who filed his COC last Thursday.

Candidates for vice mayor are Eusebio Kabluyen, a graduating councilor, and the incumbent Peter Pumaat. Incidentally both candidates come from barangay Talubin, Bontoc.

24 individuals filed their candidacies for the 8 positions of councilors. They are Ptr. Jefferson Saguibal, John Pelew, Alfredo Awichen, Benjamin Ngeteg, CiriacoFilog, Asuncion Diaz, Jerome Tudlong, AlsannysterPatingan, Herman Farnican, Esteban Ngodcho, Constancio Miranda, Timothy Pongad, William Aspilan, Ninian Lang-agan, Kenneth Chengay, Dalton Afidchao, Alexandre Claver, Jaime Kewan, Shirley Peckley, Frederick Waclet, Robert Dacyon, Viola Okko, Jupiter Kalangeg, and Alexander Fakat.

14 Ortega relatives Run in La Union
In La Union, at least 14 members of the Ortega clan filed their COC for various positions.

District 1 Rep. Victor Ortega, 83, is running for mayor in San Fernando City. His brother, incumbent mayor Pablo Ortega, is running for congressman in District 1.

Their younger brothers, Pepe and Ramon, are running for vice mayor and councilor. They are running against the sons of Gov. Manuel Ortega, Mannix and Alfred. The governor has endorsed his son, Abono party-list Rep. Emmanuel Ortega II, as his successor.

In Ilocos Norte, aside from Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. who is running for vice president, three other members of the Marcos family are also gunning for local elective posts in the 2016 election.

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos is seeking reelection for her third and final term as the 2nd District Representative of Ilocos Norte. The senator flew to Laoag on Oct. 16 – the last day of filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) – to accompany his mother, who came with him during his own filing on Tuesday, Oct. 13, in Manila.

The Marcoses' eldest child, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, also filed her COC late Friday afternoon to run for her third and last term as governor, according to one of her aides at the provincial capitol.

Imee Marcos' youngest son, Matthew Marcos-Manotoc, filed his COC for Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board member) in his grandmother's 2nd district.

The province, where the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was born, remains a stronghold of the Marcoses even decades after his death.

The province was identified as an election hotspot with a high risk of election-related violence during the 2010 presidential elections.

Sources said Imee Marcos initially toyed with the idea of running against 1st District Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, but she was advised against it since this would divide the Ilocano vote for Bongbong Marcos. Imee Marcos and Fariñas have been political opponents since the 2013 elections.

Solid North?
Bongbong Marcos, who is running in tandem with Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, earlier said that there is a new term for his family's support base aside from "Marcos loyalists" or voters of the so-called Solid North – the Solid Ilocano Vote. – votes from Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and Cordillera Administrative Region – to give her brother a "strong chance of winning.

It's like destiny because he is the only one from the North,Bongbong is the only candidate from the Ilocandia. Maybe it's heaven-sent, a coincidence that all his other opponents in the race come from the Bicolandia.”

She's referring to vice presidential bets Francis Escudero, Leni Robredo, and Gregorio Honasan, all from Bicol. The father of another vice presidential aspirant, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, also grew up in Bicol. 

De Venecia seeks  third term in Congress
In Dagupan City, Pangasinan fourth district Rep. Gina de Venecia filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) at around 9 a.m. Thursday at the provincial Comelec office.

De Venecia, who is seeking her third term under the Liberal Party-Biskeg na Pangasinan parties, said the date and time of her filing is special to her, as she dedicates it to the 100th birth anniversary of her father, the late Jose Perez, owner of movie production company Sampaguita Pictures. Perez died in 1972.

The congresswoman said she had to rush to her dad’s hometown in Bulacan where a party celebrating his life and achievements was being held.

Her husband, former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., was not with her when she filed her COC as he was in China.

Supt. Ferdinand de Asis, Pangasinan police spokesman, said no violent incident occurred in Pangasinan.

De Asis said this could be due to the presence of police personnel around the Comelec premises.

Pipo lauded the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese for launching the “One Good Vote” campaign. 

Cagayan’s political landscape reshapes
In Tuguegarao City among the first entries in the Comelec list of aspiring candidates for provincial posts were old, familiar surnames in Cagayan politics: Antonio, Vargas and Enrile.

But while the names are the same, the three candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) on Monday, comprising the provincial lineup of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), represent a mix of the old and the new, the hardened and the neophytes.

Among the three, the most familiar name was Juan “Jack” Ponce Enrile Jr., son of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. Jack wants to replace his wife, Salvacion, as third district representative and return to the post he held before he ran and lost in the Senate race in 2013.

Top-billing the UNA ticket in Cagayan is a 36-year-old political neophyte but with a familiar name: lawyer Cristina “Tin-tin” Antonio. She seeks to take over from her father, three-term Gov. Alvaro Antonio.

Board Member Melvin Vargas Jr. filed his COC as UNA vice gubernatorial candidate. While he may not be necessarily new in politics, he belongs to the third generation of the Vargas family who has been in local politics for the past three decades, starting with former Gov. Florencio Vargas Sr.

His aunt, incumbent Rep. Baby Alyne Vargas-Alfonso of the second district, is expected to seek reelection under the UNA ticket. As of press time, however, she had yet to file her COC.

But while it now looks like the UNA ticket has preserved alliances in Cagayan, at least for the 2016 elections, it was not without damage.

The young Antonio’s run for the province’s top elective post shattered the governor’s “Team Cagayan” alliance with outgoing Vice Gov. Leonides “Odie” Fausto, who is expected to vie for the gubernatorial post.

As they both cruised through their third terms, Fausto had made known his plans to succeed Governor Antonio. Everything seemed well on track because in recent months, Jack Enrile even went public expressing support for Fausto’s 2016 plans.

Monday’s COC filing by Antonio and Enrile under one slate officially cuts ties between erstwhile UNA allies Antonio and Fausto, who is set to file his COC for governor under the Nacionalista Party (NP).

The UNA crack may prove to benefit Secretary Manuel Mamba in the three-way battle for governor. Mamba, a member of the Liberal Party (LP) and outgoing chief of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, heads the province’s other political force.

His PLLO associate, Assistant Secretary Ignacio Taruc, a former mayor of Buguey town, is expected to be Mamba’s running mate.

A former representative of the first district, Mamba returns to the Cagayan political arena backed by his old LP allies and reinforced by a number of defections from the Antonio-Fausto fallout.

Among the recent defectors are Board Member Ramon Nolasco, a former three-term mayor of Gattaran and patriarch of a growing political family that includes his son Matthew, the incumbent mayor, and nephew Danilo Jr., the vice mayor.

Ramon Nolasco seeks to deny Jack Enrile, a former UNA ally, from reclaiming the post that he and his wife alternately held since 1998.

The LP is fielding a candidate to challenge Vargas-Alfonso for the second congressional district, with a scion of the Sacramed family of Sanchez Mira town, signaling a breakout from the Vargas-led UNA coalition there.

Maj. Darwin Sacramed, a former aide-de-camp of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., will enter politics to follow in the footsteps of his parents, Councilor Napoleon Sacramed, a former three-term mayor, and incumbent Mayor AselaSacramed.

In the third congressional district, the LP is expected to field Board Member Christian Guzman to contest the reelection bid of Rep. Randolph Ting of the National Unity Party.

Drama in the race for the province’s third district, however, may soon intensify after Governor Antonio hinted that he was also considering running for representative.

Sources said Antonio was provoked by criticisms hurled at him by Ting’s father, former Tuguegarao City Mayor Delfin Ting Sr., for his support for Mayor Jefferson Soriano as the latter dealt with a string of suspensions and an aborted dismissal during his first term.

Delfin Sr. is said to be challenging Soriano anew in the mayoral race in the capital Tuguegarao. The incumbent vice mayor, lawyer EnglebertCaronan, is also reported to be joining the race, breaking an alliance with the Ting family.

A known Ting ally, Board Member Mila Perpetua Lauigan, is said to be running for vice governor, alongside Fausto.

GMA runs for reelection
In Pampanga, former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is seeking a third and final term as representative of Pampanga’s second district.

Her eldest son, Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, filed the certificate of candidacy (COC) on her behalf at the Commission on Elections office here.

Arroyo, who has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center on plunder charges, is running under the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats.

Arroyo won by a landslide in the 2013 elections against Liberal Party (LP) candidate Adonis Simpao. It was not immediately known if anyone will challenge Arroyo.

If Arroyo wins in May, she will be the only remaining Arroyo in Congress. Her son, Diosdado Ignacio “Dato” Arroyo is bowing out as representative of Camarines Sur’s second district.

Luis Raymond Villafuerte, former governor of the province, and Mayor AsuncioArseño of Pasacao town are reportedly eyeing Dato’s seat.

Padaca allies
 Politicians identified with former governor Grace Padaca failed to get the endorsement of the LP for next year’s local elections.

Gamu town Vice Mayor Fernando Cumigad, who is running for mayor, said he filed his COC under the PDP-Laban because the LP has “endorsed someone else.”

Isabela District 2 Rep. Ana Go, formerly of the Nacionalista Party, took her oath as LP member last month.

Go, along with eight town mayors, were nominated as LP’s official candidates, leaving candidates identified with Padaca without a party.

“I have no idea on the status in the LP of former governor Padaca and her group,” Go told local media.

On her Facebook account, Padaca said many local LP members were unceremoniously dropped from the list of LP candidates without prior consultation or notice.

She cited the LP’s decision to “abandon one of its own for political convenience,” referring to Henry Bacurnay, undersecretary for external affairs at the office of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

Bacurnay, former LP chairman in La Union, is running for governor as an independent candidate.

When asked if LP had dumped her, Padaca said, “I am not sure if I’m still LP because ever since my appointment as Comelec commissioner, I’ve been on leave from both LP and Kaya Natin. I’ve not resumed my prior status with either.” 

“I am not sourgraping. I am just echoing what many of those who in 2010 believed and helped in the tuwidnadaan feel about finding out in the news that they’ve been replaced by the very people who badmouthed and campaigned against the tuwidnadaan team,” she added. 

“Word is that the elder Nolasco has been promised to be given his turn to run for Congress. He has been waiting and waiting and that turn has not been given to him,” said a UNA source.

Pampanga governor sets bid for last term
Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda announced that she would seek reelection for her third and last term in 2016.

“There are still many things that have to be done for the Kapampangans,” she said, adding she urged other officials seeking reelection to go back to work after filing their COCs.–  With reports from LIezle BasaInigo, Raymund Catindig, Jerry Padilla, Liam Anacleto, March Fianza, Jee Y. Geronimo, Roger Sacyaten and wires


Feuding radioman, Kalinga governor now allies in politics

By Raymund Catindig

TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Enemies ended up as allies Thursday after a radio broadcaster who was beaten up by a governor filed his certificate of candidacy for a position in the provincial council under the latter’s ticket.

Former Radyo ng Bayan anchorman Jerome Tabanganay is lined up with Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac, who is seeking a third term under the Liberal Party.

In 2012, Tabanganay filed charges of grave abuse of authority against Baac for beating him up in the announcer’s booth.

The incident resulted in the governor’s suspension.

The two have settled their differences in a series of dialogues brokered by local leaders for a united Kalinga, according to Pasil Mayor James Edubba, the party’s official vice gubernatorial bet.

Edubba is pitted against board member GelacioBongat of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Baac will face Conrado Dieza of the United Nationalist Alliance, whom he defeated in the 2013 elections.


DILG gives fund aid to 8 ex-rebels

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The Department of Interior and Local Government recently turned over financial assistance to eight rebel returnees in the province for their livelihood projects.

The eight RRs received checks of P50,000 each. Three of these RRs were from the municipality of Paracelis, two each from Sadanga and Bontoc and one from Sagada. Two were women.

This assistance  was part of the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), a program of the national government for rebels who  surrender, including those who gave up their arms since 2011.

The CLIP provides financial assistance to rebel-returnees and their families to help them return to normal lives and reintegrate themselves to society.

According to Miguela Angwani of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office ,  each of the 8 RRs were  first given immediate financial assistance of P15,000 for their  basic needs. 

They used part of the money to start  livelihood projects  such as  sari-sari store, buy and sell of farm supplies and chicken, piggery, and loom weaving. -- Juliet B. Saley


14 killed, 7 hurt in Ecija poll violence

11 police chiefs replaced 

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga – Fourteen persons were killed while seven others were hurt in recent poll-related ambushes in Nueva Ecija, reason why the  Commission on Elections should declare the province an election hotspot amid escalating cases of political violence, a lawmaker said.

Nueva Ecija Fourth District Rep. Rodolfo Antonino said 14 persons were killed and seven others were wounded in recent ambushes in the province.

“Eleven of the incidents occurred this year, including six last September,” Antonino said at a media forum here.

He said among the victims were city and town councilors and barangay officials, including former Association of Barangay Captains president Rick Ramos of Talavera, chairman Cesar Baltazar of Barangay Luna, lay minister Nicanor Toledo, former Quezon town councilor Daniel Lonzanida and barangay chairman GarielRoxas of Cuyapa in Gabaldon.

On Monday night, motorcycle-riding gunmen shot dead a former town councilor of Quezon town.

Daniel Lonzanida of Barangay Bertese, 46, was walking along the provincial road in Purok Bertese around 6:30 p.m. when two men on a motorcycle pulled over to chat with him, Police Officer 2 Rodelio Rivera, quoting witnesses, said.

Rivera said two men on another motorcycle arrived and one of the riders shot Lonzanida at close range.

Following the killings, the Nueva Ecija police office  replaced 11 chiefs of police in two cities and nine towns for inefficiency in addressing rising crime rate.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Manuel Cornel ordered replaced from their posts the police chiefs of the towns of Quezon, Licab, Laur, General Tinio, Pantabangan, Lupao, Nampicuan, Gabaldon and General Natividad, and the cities of San Jose and Muñoz.

Cornel designated Supt. PoncianoZafra, former deputy provincial director for investigation, as police chief of Muñoz.

San Jose City Mayor MarivicViolago-Belena personally requested immediate relief of Supt. NolieAzuncion, who was replaced by Supt. Reynaldo dela Cruz.

Cornel cited overstaying, under-performance and mayors’ request as among the reasons for the reshuffle.

The police chiefs of Licab and Quezon reportedly failed to implement the OplanLambatSibat.  -- Ding Cervantes, Manny Galvez


AFP chief warns bets on paying NPA election fees

Do not give in to the demands of communist rebels, the military reminded candidates in next year’s elections. 

Armed Forces public affairs chief Col. Noel Detoyato said the New People’s Army (NPA) would try to extort money from candidates through the issuance of so-called permits to campaign and win.

“It will just give them more money to fuel more violence,” Detoyato said in Manila.  

He said they are monitoring rebel-infested areas, particularly in the Compostela Valley, Quezon province and Abra.

 “We are awaiting the final list of hotspots… The Comelec (Commission on Elections) will decide,” he said.

Detoyato also called on candidates to report to the police or military if NPA rebels are harassing them. 

There are about 4,000 NPA guerrillas in the country, according to government estimates. 


Cop shot dead in drug operation

ALAMINOS CITY, Pangasinan – A police officer was killed in an anti-drug operation here at dawn Monday.

Police Officer 3 Angelo Cortez was declared dead on arrival at the Western Pangasinan District Hospital from a gunshot to the chest, according to case officer Police Officer 3 Gerald Mamanta.

Reports said Cortez and Police Officer 3 Eric Calpito were out to arrest a suspected drug trafficker identified as Elenger Camba, 39, when the suspect pulled out a gun and shot them.

Camba was reportedly included in the city police’s watch list of drug suspects. – Eva Visperas        


Banaue Rice Terraces ‘photobomber’ on hold

BANAUE, Ifugao -- The construction of the seven-story parking building near the Banaue Rice Terraces remains on hold even though the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has said the site is not among the World Heritage sites.

Edison Molanida, NCCA World Heritage coordinator, said construction of the parking building needs the approval of the National Museum.

Molanida said Banaue local officials should prove the project would preserve and not alter the character of the rice terraces to get the nod of the National Museum.

Banaue Mayor Jerry Danipog had said the construction of the P55-million parking facility would proceed as scheduled after NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon said the commission has no jurisdiction over petitions to stop its construction in Barangay Poblacion.

The petitioners claimed the parking building would ruin or block the view of the rice terraces.

Danipog said only the rice terraces in Barangays Baan and Bangaan in Banaue and in the towns of Mayaoyao, Kiangan and Hungduan in Ifugao were declared World Heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.


CAR execs named science, technology ambassadors

By Edd K. Usman

BAGUIO CITY -- The Cordillera Administrative Region now has champions in science and technology (S&T) advocacy.

Department of Science and Technology Sec. Mario Go Montejo named the CAR’s Science Ambassadors last week.

They are Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Benguet State University (BSU) president Ben D. Ladilad, University of the Philippines (UP)-Baguio Chancellor Dr. Raymundo. D. Rovillos, Bauko (Mountain Province) Mayor Abraham B. Akilit, Rizal (Kalinga) Mayor Marcelo V. Dela Cruz Jr., Scientist Dr. Daniel C. Pekley Jr.; Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-CAR director Dr. Helen R. Tibaldo, Assistant Secretary for Countryside Development Dr. Urdujah A. Tejada.

Naming Science Ambassadors is part of the DOST’s “Science Nation Tour” aimed at bringing to the country’s 17 regions relevant S&T programs that will help the local governments’ economy.

DOST’s first batch of Science Ambassadors were named for Davao Region in March, 2015.

Montejo visited the CAR last week for a series of activities, chief of which the inauguration on October 8 of an environment-friendly Gold-Copper Processing Plant in Itogon, Benguet, to help the region’s small-scale miners avail themselves of the DOST technology of extracting gold without the use of mercury and cyanide.


Hay burning sets brownout in four Ilocos provinces

By Freddie G. Lazaro

BALAOAN, La Union -- A farmer’s burning of hay across a field in Barangay Masupe here, caused the sudden brownout experienced in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, and La Union last Monday morning.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said the burning of hay was done directly under the NGCP’s transmission lines and spotted by NGCP field inspectors around 9 a.m.

“Our technical men found the burning hays along the field in Balaoan, La Union during their immediate inspection of transmission lines upon the shut–off of power supply in the Ilocos,” NGCP-North Luzon Spokesperson Lilibeth P. Gaydowen said yesterday.

“I am appealing to all residents in Ilocos region not to build a fire near or under transmission structures as it could cause power interruptions because the fire’s smoke can ionize the air around the energized conductor that may serve as a possible path of current to the ground,” she explain.

The sudden loss of power in the four provinces happened as Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices opened the first day of the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the May 9, 2016 elections.

Electricity was restored by 10:08 a.m. and the farmer had been informed by NGCP field inspectors of the repercussions of his actions.


New Cordillera PNP chief vows more police visibility,conviction rate

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The new Cordillera police director assured more police visibility and convictions for crime cases in the region.

Chief Supt. Ulysses J. Abellera said there will no longer be cops ranked Police Officer 1 in police stations  as  they will be deployed  for patrol to ensure police visibility.

Only key officers and non-uniformed personnel (NUP) will be left to man stations while the police officers will be equitably distributed to patrol their beats in order to deter commission of crimes especially in populated areas, he said.

He also vowed to increase conviction rate of crime cases in the region. 

“As a lawyer, one of my aims is to increase the convictions rates of crime cases filed so as to improve and demand the appropriate justice for these crimes,” Abellera said.

There should be no cases filed that will be dismissed because of technicalities if the policemen have done their investigation right and that the crime scenes have been processed appropriately, he said. .

Abellera took over the post of Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez who was assigned in Eastern Mindanao as Directorate for Integrated Police Operations.

Prior to his new post, Abellera served at PNP Legal Service in Camp Crame. He was also the deputy regional director for administration of PRO-COR before  his  assignment  in the  national police headquarters.

The turn over of command was presided by James Andres Melad, Director for Integrated Police Operations Northern Luzon. – Redgie Melvic Cawis


Dev’t workers condemn ‘red-tagging, vilification’

BANGUED, Abra  – Cause oriented groups here denied and condemned black propaganda allegedly by State agents they are New People’s Army rebels pretending to be development workers.

Kakailian SalaknibanTay Amin a Nagtaudan (KASTAN CPA-Abra), TulongKatribu and Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CordDS),  in a press statement, said they learned of  red tagging being spread against them after Ariel Solomon Martes, Alliance of Concerned Teachers provincial coordinator for Abra was notified by a friend to be careful of his acquaintances because he was told they were NPA rebels.

His source however declined to identify the source for his own security.

“We condemn this malicious statement made against us. We are development workers aiming to help the evacuees. We declare categorically that we are not NPA rebels. This kind of statements are dangerous, as there is a trend that those who are vilified are being harassed, illegally arrested or worse, even killed. This incident is reminiscent of the Martial law days, where everyone who desires to serve the people is being demonized by the state.”

The incident happened after KASTAN, Tulong Katribu and CorRDS went to Barangay Tamac in Villaviciosa, Abra to provide relief goods for residents who evacuated because of an impending landslide.

A landslide occurred during the height of typhoon Ineng, which destroyed several parts of the rice fields, prompting the residents to evacuate.

The relief operation was requested by the community through Alliance of Concerned Teachers provincial coordinator Ariel Solomon Martes.

Despite the incident, the groups vowed that they will continue to provide aid for those in need, saying that it is their sacred duty to serve the people.

“No threats can stop us from doing what we are supposed to do. These people need help, and no matter what, we will not leave them behind. Those spreading these malicious statements must desist from doing so and instead do their part in helping the evacuees.”

The press statement named Haide Patricio Iday as TulongKatribu coordinator,

Ronald Gustilo as public information officer of Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin a Nagtaudan and Ariel Solomon Martes as provincial coordinators of ACT.


7 fishermen drank urine, ate grass in 9-day sea ordeal

By Eva Visperas

DAGUPAN CITY – Drifting for nine days, seven fishermen from Bolinao, Pangasinan went missing at the height of Tropical Depression Kabayan recounted their ordeal after they were rescued off IIocos Norte on 10.

The fishermen were taken to San Fernando City, La Union to a hospital for checkup.

Capt. Albert Mogol, chief of the Philippine Navy Task Force 40, said one of the fishermen was weak and was transferred to a stretcher.

Jose Ronnie Bagor, 44, captain of F/B Double, said they drifted for nine days and ate grass, small fish and sugar, which they salvaged from their boat, in order to survive.

Bagor said they drank urine and seawater.

Aside from Bagor, the other survivors were Ronnie Boy Maratas, 23; Rowel Bagor, 38; Joey Barrientos, 41; Ricardo Cas, 23; NicksonBagor, 18, and Mar Espira, 26.

Bagor said they sailed on Sept. 29 and the weather became stormy on Oct. 2.

He said their boat developed engine trouble.

The fishermen were rescued by the crewmembers of commercial vessel M/V Kavalaseas in the waters off Currimao.

Lt. Archie Adanza of the Naval Task Force 40 said an aerial search team of the Philippine Navy Islander (PNI) first spotted the fishermen some 73 nautical miles west of Currimao.

“The PNI rescue team saw the Kavalaseas and informed its crew to rescue the fishermen,” Adanza said.

Melchito Castro, director of the Office of Civil Defense-Region 1, said the seven fishermen were among 13 others who were reported missing during the storm. – With Vic Alhambra


Biometric registration deadline set Oct. 31

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- With only a few days to Oct. 31 deadline, the provincial office of the Commission on Election reminded voters to undergo biometrics registration to be able  to vote in the  May 2016 national and local elections.

Paracelis Election Officer Virginia Chokowen who is detailed at the Comelec provincial office here, said biometrics registration and validation and registration of qualified voters is only until  the end of this month.

Biometrics registration and validation and registration of qualified voters, was suspended on Oct. 12 – 16, to pave way for filing of candidacies running in next year’s election, according to  Chokowen.

She advised those voters who are not sure if their biometrics where taken or complete to visit the Comelec website: www.comelec.gov.ph.

Biometrics registration refers to the process of taking the voter’s picture, fingerprints and signature specimens and encoded in a computer system.

Latest available data at Comelec provincial office showed there are still 11,173 registered voters without biometrics data and 53 registered voters with incomplete biometrics data.

Based on the latest Comelec record, the province has 98,058 total registered voters.

Under the Mandatory Biometrics Registration Act, those who fail to have their biometrics taken prior to the May 2016 elections shall be deactivated from the voters’ list and not allowed to vote. -- Andrew Doga-ong


Calls mount for dropping of charges vs ‘Cagayan 76’

Calls for the immediate dismissal of charges filed against 76 human rights advocates, activists and members of peoples organizations in Cagayan mounted with supporters saying these were “trumped up.”

“The filing of kidnapping and homicide against the 76 individuals are clearly malicious, baseless and unfounded, Baguio-based Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance said in a statement. “The charges are a mockery to our justice system. But more than these, the charges put the lives and security of the victims in danger.”

The CPA urged immediate dismissal of kidnapping and homicide filed against 76 activists and advocates in Cagayan Valley and release of all political prisoners.

“From Mindanao to the North, the State is using SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) against leaders and members of progressive organizations to intimidate, silence and burden them with the cost of legal defense. SLAPP is part of the systematic and widespread attack against the people who are working and advancing for the protection of the environment, respect of human rights and indigenous people’s rights, and advocates for peasants, women, children and the youth.”

According to the CPA, “The pattern is dangerous. The filing of fabricated and criminal charges, political vilification can lead to other forms of human rights violations such as abduction and even extrajudicial killings as experienced thru the Oplan Bayanihan and former security policies.”

CPA secretary general Abigal Anongos said among the known personalities included in the kidnapping and homicide charge sheet were Randy Felix Malayao, vice president for Luzon, Makabayan Coalition and Bayan Cagayan Valley convenor; Agnes Mesina, regional coordinator, Rural Missionaries in the Philippines; Romella Liquigan, coordinator, Karapatan Cagayan Valley; Isabelo Adviento, National Auditor of Anakpawis and regional chairperson of Anakpawis-Cagayan Valley and Emil Dagdag, organizer of Piston.

 “The CPA firmly believes that advocating and working for the welfare and common good of indigenous peoples, peasants, women, children and other sectors are not criminal in nature. In fact, the killing, abducting, harassing and filing of trump up charges against activists and advocates by the State are crimes against humanity. The State should be accountable for these crimes against the people.”


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