Volume 18 / No.03  | February 15 , 2018
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
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2 arrested for murder of gov's aide, one other surrenders

Police arrested a man and his nephew for alleged involvement in the January 14 killing of the chief aide of Governor Czarina Umali.

Anastacio Geron, 47, and his nephew Armando  Geron, 26, both of San Jose City, admitted to serving as lookouts, monitoring the movements of the victim, May Ann Hernandez, who was shot dead at a gas station in Talavera.

A third suspect, Reynaldo Iglesia, also of San Jose City, surrendered.

The Gerons yielded a caliber .38 revolver, a grenade and ammunition. Their cell phones also contained text messages on the plan to kill Hernandez.

Police said they have identified the gunman and are hunting him down to determine the motive for the killing. ###

Second provincial employee shot dead

An employee  of the provincial engineering office was killed last February 13 by a motorcycle-riding suspect at the junction park of Barangay Caalibangbangan, Cabanatuan City.

The victim was identified as Librado Mendoza, 62.

He was shot  multiple times at 9:55 A.M.

Investigators have yet to establish the motive for the attack,

Mendoza is the second employee of he provincial government to be killed this year following the shooting of May Ann Hernandez, administrative chief of Gov. Czarina Umali last January14.

Mendoza used tro work as cameraman for local TV Channel 48 until he was hired by the provincial government over a year go. ###

SC clears Mayor Jay of admin charges

The Supreme Court (SC) rejected the appeal of the Office of the Ombudsman to affirm the conviction of Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara in the administrative charges filed against him over his alleged failure to stop the operation of the city's open trash dump

The decision witten by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta of the SC Second Division denied the Ombudsman's petition for review of certoriari as it affirmed a decision dated May 28, 2014 of the Court of Appeals.

The case arose from a complaint filed by Bonifacio Garcia with the Environmental Ombudsman in June 2005 against Vergara and former Vice Mayor Raul Mendoza for maintaining an open garbage dump at the boundary of Barangay San Isidro and Barangay Valle Cruz that has long been overdue for closure and rehabilitation.

Garcia said the dump site had turned into a four-story high  mountain of mixed garbage exposing the residents in at least 87 barangays to toxic solid waste.

He alleged that despite the implementation of the Ecological Sold Waste Management Act, Vergara and Mendoza allowed the collection of non-segregated garbage.

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Ismaela Boco found Vergara guilty for violation of Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and meted him six months of suspension from government service.

Vergara filed a motion for reconsideration, saying the suspension could not be enforced as it ran counter to the established doctrine of condonation since he was reelected as mayor on May 10. 2010.

The CA reduced the penalty to only a reprimand as there was no reason to reverse the findings of the Ombdsman.

The CA said hat Vergara may no longer be held administratively liable for misconduct committed during his previous term.

This ruling prompted the Ombudsman to raise the case to the Supreme Court.

In the SC decision last  December 6, 2017 that was released only recently, it said the CA was right in modifying the ruling of the Ombudsman.

“It is apparent that the most important consideration in the doctrine of condonation is the fact that the misconduct was done in a prior term and that the subject public official was eventually reelected by the same body politic. It is inconsequential whether the said r-election be on another public office or on an election year that is not immediately succeeding the last, as long as the electorate that reelected the public official be the same,” the SC said. ###

San Antonio to become Ecija's first WiFi town

San Antonio may soon become the first local government unit in Nuea Eija to provide free broadband internet access to all of its barangays.

A memorandum of agreement was signed between the municipal government and the Land Bank of the Phliippines-Nueva Ecija for funding of P68 million worth of infrastructure projects including the installation of free public WiFi service in the first class town.

The signing was led by Mayor Arvin Salonga and Eduardo Reyes, Jr., LBP-NE Lending Center vice president, at the mayor's office last February 8.

At least P11.2 million will be for the installation of the first phase of the WiFi project,

The Land Bank loan will include P18 million for the construction of a three-story, 12-classroom building for the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, P2.4 million for the purchase of a lot for the  San Francisco Public Cemetery, P9 million for the construction of gymnasiums for three elementary and high schools, P2.7 million for the construction of Santa Barbara Elementary School, P1.8 million for a covered court with stage and comfort room for Papaya Elementary School, lP2,.5 million for a gymnasium with office in San Jose and P1.2 million for the rehabilitation of Papaya Elementary School gymnasium. ###

Body of Dengvaxia victim in Palayan City autopsied

The Public Attorney's Office (PAO) conduted an autopsy last February 7 on the body of a 10-year-old boy who died in August 2016 in Palayan City allegedly due to the Dengvaxia vaccine.

PAO chief Persida Acosta headed the forensic team led by Dr Erwin Erfe that autopsied the body of Erico Leabres of Barangay Sapang Buho.

The boy's parents, Philip and Leny Leabres, said Erico, their youngest child, was completely healthy before receiving a dose of Dengvangxia in May 2016.

Philip said it was vacation time when the boy was picked up at home and vaccinated in school.

Erico's older brother was also vaccinated with Dengvaxia. Both had fever but the older brother was able to recover and did not get sick again

Leny said her son died on Augst 17, 2016 due to "urinary tract infection".

Acosta did not make any statement and instead talked to the parents who sought the help of PAO after hearing news about the suspected Dengvaxia-linked deaths.

Erfe said it would take time before the could come up with conclusive findings because the vital parts of the exhumed body were already dry,

However, he pointed out that they found heart enlargement and signs similar to Dengvaxia cases they had examined. ###

Diocese of San Jose promotes organic farming

The Diocese of San Jose has decided to promote integrated organic agriculture to empower farmers.

Bishop Roberto Mallari said the initiative is designed to meet the needs of the local population, 80 percent of them farmers who need the Church's support and guidance.

He said through the diocesan Social Services Center, farmers acquire skills and know-how to boost the local economy

The bishop said farmers do not know how to grow organic rice. He said they also encourage farmers to opt for medicinal plants and indigenous alternative medicines.

The diocese also has a feeding program for children.

“When children lack nutritious food, their brain development is affected. When that happens, they may not develop into productive adults later,” Mallari said. He said the feeding program is part of a broader social project. ###

Cleaning/disinfection of Ecija chicken farms to enable country to regain flu-free status in March

The country could finally become bird flu-free before the end of the first quarter after the government has successfully completed the cleaning and disinfection of the last affected chicken farm in Nueva Ecija.

Arlyn Vitiaco, Bureau of Animal Industry Animal Health and Welfare Division chief, said the agency has started to load 650 heads of day-old cockerels as sentinel birds in the bird flu affected layer farm in Cabiao last February 1, starting the 90-day countdown towards regaining the bird flu-free status for the country. This will end on March 23.

Under the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), a country will only be declared free from avian influenza (AI) if it would not report any outbreak within 90 days after the final disinfection of the affected areas.

The recognition of the Philippines as a bird flu-free nation would reopen foreign markets for local poultry, still banned in a number of countries including South Korea, Japan and Singapore, after the government announced the discovery of bird flu in Central Luzon last August. ###

Drug suspect dies in Cabanatuan firefight

A suspected drug personality was killed in afirefight with policemen during a buy-bust operation in Cabatuan City.

Supt. Poonciano Zafra, city police chief, identified the slain suspect as Arturo Cristobal alias Ipoy, of Barangay Dalampang.

Chief Insp. Jamie Ferrer and his men were conducting a buy-bust operation along
Vicente Street in Barangay Sumacab Sur at 11:30 P.M. when the suspect sensed he was dealing wirh police poseur buyers.

The suspect drew his caiber .38 revolver and fired at the policemen, forcing them to retaliate.

Zafra said Cristobal was listed in the drug watch list of the barangay. ###

Hired gun arrested in San Antonio

A suspected member of a robbery and gun-for-hire syndicate was arrested by combined elements of the Nueva Ecija Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and local police after a search of his house in San Antonio yielded two unlicensed pistols last February 8.

The arrested suspect was identified as Danilo Ercillo of Barangay Julo.

He was tagged as a member of the Orizar cime group allegedly engaged in gun-for-hire, robbery-holdup and carnapping.

The suspect was arrested in his house after authorities implemented a serach warratnt for violation of Republic Act 10591.

The suspect yielded a caliber .38 Bersa pistol with two magazine clips and 25 bullets for the same pistol, and  caliber. 38 Smith & Wesson pistol loaded with three live bullets and one fired shell and a live caliber .22.bullet.  ###

Rizal man kills self after spat with partner

A man in Rizal hanged himself in his room a few days after having a spat with his live-in partner.

Chief Insp. Manuel Catacutan, town poice chief, identified the victim as Jhano de Guzman, 29, jobless, of Barangay Poblacion Norrte.

He was found by his morther, Eutropia. hanging from an electrical wire  in his room  at 7:00 P.M.

She told the polier that she noticed her son had become depressed after quarellijg with his live-in partner who works as an OFW in Qatar. ###

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