No. 234 /  January 16-31, 2010
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Police monitors
3 NE private armies

The Nueva Ecija police is looking into the activities of three private armed groups (PAGs) operating in the first and second congressional districts and at the boundaries of the third and fourth congressional districts.

Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez, provincial police director, bared this to the media after the first joint conference of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Commission on Elections held at the amphitheater of Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City.

He said that the PNP is validating the existence of the PAGs.

"Once we have validated them, we will move to neutralize the," Marquez said.

Marquez said that some the armed groups are engaged in criminal activities, with standing warrants of arrest for armed robbery and gun-for-hire activities.

He identified one group as "Alakdan and Kamagong".

He said that some of the armed groups lie low at ordinary times but resurface during the election season at the request of politicians.

Marquez said that the police will see to it that the armed groups are neutralized before the May elections and not wait for any recommendation from an independent commission that had been set up to dismantle PAGs. ###
 
 

Cops net 10 -- including fellow cop -- for violating gun ban

The Nueva Ecija police charged a policeman and nine other persons of violating the election gun ban.

Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez, provincial police director, said that PO2 Ronald Baldonoza of San Jose City was arrested for carrying a .38 caliber pistol without proper documents.

Also arrested and charged were Crispin Velasco, also of San Jose City; Raymond Oanes of Gapan City; Florino Fermin, 58, businessman, of No. 26 Brgy. Magsaysay Sur, Cabanatuan City; Felipe Galicia Sr. and his son, Felipe Jr., of San Antonio; 0scar Pacariem and Francis Asuncion of the Science City of Muñoz; Jermie Prades and Ramon Alejandro. ###
 
 

Gapan mayor's supporter arrested for illegal guns

A supporter of Gapan City Mayor Ernesto L. Natividad was arrested for illegal possession of guns and ammunition after a raid conducted by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Barangay San Vicente.

Chief Insp. Joselito Villarosa, Jr., local CIDG chief, identified the suspect as Eduardo S. Alfonso, 61, a mechanic.

Found in his possession were one home-made cal. 38  caliber and a .357 caliber pistol, a 12 gauge shotgun with 20 bullets and a dozen more ammunition for the two other pistols confiscated.

The CIDG operatives were armed with a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 32 Judge Ramon Pamula when they raided the suspect's house accompanied by two witnesses.

Prosecutor Efren Clint Mallare, Jr. filed a case of violation of the election gun ban against Alfonso. ###
 
 

Ecija, Bulacan lead CL provinces in number of confiscated firearms

The Police Regional Office 3 reported that 34 firearms -- 11 of them from Nueva Ecija and 11 from Bulacan -- had been confiscated by its field officers in Central Luzon since the implementation of the election gun ban.

A total of 35 persons were arrested and 15 cases filed in court for illegal possession of firearms during the election period.

The breakdown of the confiscated firearms includes 11 firearms from Nueva Ecija; 11 firearms from Bulacan; 10 firearms, one bladed weapon and one grenade from Bataan; and one firearm each from Pampanga  and Tarlac.

A total of 35 persons were apprehended including one policeman, a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a government official and 32 civilians. Most of them were arrested at checkpoints. ###
 
 

Marquez charged before Ombudsman

The Nueva Ecija provincial police director was charged before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly designating an OIC station commander in San Antonio beyond the period allowed by law.

Mayor Arvin Salonga, president of the Nueva Ecija chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, filed a three page complaint against Marquez for grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.

In 2007, Salonga also charged the then provincial director, Sr. Supt. Agripino Javier, for failing to consult the mayors before designating police station commanders.

Marquez refused to comment on the complaint, saying he has not received a copy from the Ombudsman.

Salonga accused Marquez of willfully and unlawfully designating Chief Insp. Arnold Palomo as OIC of the San Antonio Police in violation of the PNP Law.  Aside from being station commander of the San Antonio Police, Palomo is also the chief of the provincial special reaction team of the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office. ###
 
 

Cuyapo mayor denies receiving suspension order

Mayor Amado Corpuz, Jr. of  Cuyapo denied having received an order from the Office of the Ombudsman directing the Department of Interior and Local Government to suspend him for six months for being the alleged mastermind in the killing of a municipal employee two years ago.

“If there is such a suspension order, then I would receive it and seek legal remedy provided it is done in accordance with law,” Corpuz said.

Earlier, newspaper reports quoted acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro as saying that there is enough ground to suspend Corpuz for six months pending the investigation of the murder of Angelito Espinosa on June 4, 2008.

Espinosa was shot dead following an altercation inside the municipal compound with Carlito Samonte, a bodyguard of Corpuz. Samonte is now detained in the provincial jail in connection with murder charges filed at the Guimba regional trial court.

Espinosa's widow, Priscilla, filed charges of grave misconduct against Corpuz after a witness claimed to have seen and heard the mayor order Samonte to shoot the victim.

In his counter affidavit, Corpuz denied any participation in the killing, saying that it was a matter between the victim and Samonte.

Corpuz expressed doubts about the existence of the suspension order against him since during the election period from January 10 until June 9, no local official may be suspended without COMELEC approval. ###
 
 

Muñoz vice mayor ordered to vacate post in favor of rival

The First Division of the Commission on Elections ordered Vice Mayor Alberto Tobias, Jr. of the Science City of Muñoz to vacate his post in favor of his rival, Efren Alvarez.

The COMELEC division, composed of Presiding Commissioner Rene Sarmiento and Commissioners Armando Velasco and Gregorio Larrazabal, ruled that Alvarez of Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (BALANE) won by 418 votes over Tobias, a party mate of Gov. Aurelio M. Umali,  after a recount of the votes cast in the 2007 vice mayoralty race.

Alvarez, elder brother of Mayor Nestor Alvarez and himself a three time mayor, got 14,117 votes against Tobias' 13,699 votes. ###
 
 

San Leonardo mayor running unopposed

For the first time in the history of San Leonardo, its incumbent mayor, Froilan Nagaño, will run unopposed in the May elections.

A press release credits Nagaño with the completion of 37 infrastructure projects during his term and the grant of scholarships to the youth in his town. ###
 
 

Gibo faces Ecijano voters

Administration presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro went to Cabanatuan City last January 31 to explain his political platform in various fora .

Teodoro first met with administration party leaders in Nueva Ecija led by Gov. Aurelio M. Umali and members of the Nueva Ecija Chamber of Commerce at Acropolis North.

He vowed that he would not use campaign tactics that would tend to talk down to the poor or pander to them.

"I will not listen to the advice of some well-meaning friends to [put the] importance of my program of government [in the back seat] just to play and adjust to the masa," Teodoro said.

He also told local officials that he will not resort to politicking in engaging his rivals, saying that too much politics has been causing divisions and hindering the country's progress.

When asked if he would ask for the endorsement of his politically influential uncle, Eduardo Cojuangco, he replied "Sa pulitika natin ngayon, walang tiyuhin-tiyuhin o pinsan-pinsan.”

He later addressed students  of the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology and Wesleyan University-Philippines, harping on his campaign slogan "galing at talino". ###
 
 

Butil's Chavez passes away

Butil party list Rep. Leonila Chavez, a Novo Ecijana, died last January 28 due to stroke. She was 75.

She was declared dead at 3:00 AM by attending physicians in The Medical City. She had been comatose since January 19.

The House of Representatives will hold necrological services for Chavez on February 2, after which her remains will be brought to her hometown, Cabanatuan.

Chavez was supposed to celebrate her 76th birthday last January 31. ###
 
 

Ecijano peacekeper found dead in Haiti

Rescue teams found the body of Sgt. Eustacio Bermudez, Jr. in the ruins of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti last January 18, making him the third Filipino casualty in the devastating earthquake that hit that country.

This was announced by Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, Jr., spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Bermudez's body was found at around 8:30 PM in what could have been the second floor of the Christopher Hotel where the UN mission was located. He was working as clerk in the Conduct and Discipline Unit when the earthquake struck.

Brawner said that Bermudez, from San Leonardo town, was a survivor of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Northern Luzon on July 16, 1990. He was then attending classes at the Christian Colleges of the Philippines in Cabanatuan City when the quake caused the school to collapse, killing more than 150 people. He was trapped in the rubble of the school building together with a former classmate, Corp. David Catacutan, also a member of the Philippine Contingent to Haiti. Catacutan managed to survive the Haiti quake.

Bermudez and Catacutan are members of the 10th Philippine Contingent to Haiti that left the Philippines in August last year for a six month peacekeeping mission.

Bermudez was supposed to turn 38 on February 1. ###
 
 

NEHS enters finals of SMART 'Doon Po sa Amin Awards'

Nueva Ecija High School is among the finalists in the 2nd Doon Po sa Amin (DPSA) Learning Challenge Awards.

Participating in the contest are high schools under the Smart Schools Program of Smart Communications, Inc.

The competition recognizes the best local online content that promotes and helps in the development of local communities.

The NEHS entry is entitled "Mathematics of the Tricycle City".

Among the other finalists are Barobo National High School for "Sumbada: Buhay Lambat" and “Davisol: Mga Likha at Pananampalataya”,  Batanes National Science High School for "Lime and its Building Power;” Naga City Science High School for “Tigsik: Pagsalingoy sa Lenguaheng Bikolano” and “Mike V. Padua: Pag-asa Kan Naga,” Science and Technology Education Center for “Binisaya”, Bataan National High School for “Mt. Samat: The Stand for the Fallen,” Agusan National High School for “Glimpse of the Long-lived Enigma,” and Maddela Comprehensive High School for “Sierra Madre: Peak of Life.”

The DPSA competition is part of the 6th Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP) Innovation and Excellence Awards. ###
 
 

Project teaches school kids to grow, eat vegetables

A project to teach elementary pupils to plant high value vegetables and also eat them was launched in two elementary schools in San Jose City.

The Tanim sa Kinabukasan project of East-West Seed Company in being implemented in collaboration with participating schools, local government units and the Synergeia Foundation, a non governmental organization. 

The first two participating schools are the Kaliwanagan Elementary School and Manicla Elementary School.

The launching of the program was attended by some 500 persons including farmers, government officials, teachers, pupils and other community residents.

The program is envisioned to be implemented in as many schools as possible all over the country. Under the scheme, the elementary pupils are taught how to grow vegetables not only through lectures but by actually gardening in the school premises with the guidance of the seed company's technicians.

East-West Seed also provides the hybrid seeds, a small greenhouse for raising seedlings the modern way, tools and equipment needed by the children and other inputs. ###
 
 

Farmers in western Ecija want irrigation facilities finished

Farmers in the western part of Nueva Ecija urged the government to complete the irrigation component of the Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project (CMIPP) to spare them from expenses.

Nestor Diego, a farmer from Guimba and secretary general of Pambansang Kalipunan ng Magsasaka sa Pilipinas, said that his fellow farmers spend P7,000 a day for diesel to draw underground water with pumps.

He said that Guimba farmers want the government to build irrigation canals and other facilities to bring water from Pantabangan Dam to some 16,000 hectares of rice lands there.

Rice farms in Cuyapo, Talugtog, Nampicuan and parts of Guimba and the Science City of Muñoz have not been reached by irrigation water from the Casecnan project whose second phase has yet to be completed.

Earlier, agriculture officials assured farmers in the areas served by CMIPP of sufficient irrigation water due to the high water level of Pantabangan Dam. ###
 
 

Belgian environmentalist, 4 Pinoys rescued in Sierra Madre

The Philippine Air Force rescued a Belgian environmentalist and four Filipino companions who had been trapped in the Sierra Madre mountain range for a week.

Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Gerardo Zamudio identified those rescued as Bert Peeters, a Belgian, of the Cabiao Kid Foundation, an environmentalist group based in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija; and his Filipino companions lawyer Gari Bernal, Angelito Agustin, Luzviminda Lopez and Narciso Gumangan.

The five, along with their guide Noni dela Peña, went to Isabela last January 13, intending to reach on foot the town of Divilacan on the Pacific Ocean side of Sierra Madre by passing through the thickly forested slopes of Mount Crista. However, the group asked dela Peña to return to seek help after heavy rains and strong river current trapped them along the way.

An Air Force helicopter landed at the mountain in Cauayan, Isabela to pick up the five, while another helicopter provided air cover as the area is communist infested.

The Belgian was injured, with some visible bruises. ###
 
 

Granny found dead in Palayan City

An unidentified woman was found dead in a grassy area in Sitio Baccao, Barangay Doña Josefa, Palayan City last January 15.

Supt. Moises Pagaduan of the local police said that the body in early state of decomposition was discovered by espouses Jun and Rosita Soria.

The victim was described as between 60 and 70 years old, 5'2" in height and wearing a blouse with floral prints. The body bore no signs of injury.

Barangay officials decided to temporarily bury the body after it remained unclaimed by relatives. ###
 
 

Body of shooting victim found in Cabanatuan City

The body of a 62 year old man with three bullet wounds in the head and body was discovered by a passerby in a grassy vacant lot along General Tinio Extension, Barangay Hermogenes Concepcion, Cabanatuan City.

The victim was identified as Alfredo Joson de Guzman of Purok 1, Barangay Sumacab Norte.

A few meters form the body was a motorcycle owned by the victim.

The local police are looking into the motive for the killing. ###
 
 

Old couple killed

An old man and his wife were shot and killed by two men near a public market in Barangay Bantug, Cabanatuan City.

Supt. Manuel Coronel, city police chief, identified the fatalities as Arturo Lapina, 60, and his wife, Raymunda, both of Barangay M.S. Garcia.

Arturo was driving his pickup truck with his wife seated beside him and his two grandchildren and their nanny in the back seat, when they were fired upon by two motorcycle riding men using a pistol with a silencer.

First to be hit was Raymunda. Arturo tried to drive away but his pickup hit an electric post at the corner of de Guzman and Nuñez streets. The suspects then approached the vehicle and fired at Arturo. The two children and their nanny were unhurt.

It was learned that the two had come from the family's hog farm in Palayan City and decided to drop by the public market when the shooting happened. ###
 
 

San Jose farmer shot dead

A 40 year old farmer died when unidentified suspects peppered his house with bullets in Barangay Santo Niño 3rd, San Jose city.

Investigators recovered 46 shells in the crime scene.

The victim, Federico Y. Pajares, was asleep together with his wife, Lydia, at about 1:15 AM when their house was repeatedly shot at, fatally hitting the victim.

Police investigators are looking into the motive for the shooting. ###
 
 

Cop wanted for threatening Santa Rosa teens

A member of the Police Security and Protection Group based in Camp Crame is in hot water after he was accused of firing his gun and threatening three teenagers playing cards in front of their house in San Rosa last January 19.

The Police Regional Office 3 director, Chief Supt. Leon Nilo A. dela Cruz, said that members of the Santa Rosa police who went to the house of the suspect, PO1 Ruel Cruz, failed to find him.

The three teenagers - Previlson Alcantara, 18; his brother Christopher, 17; and cousin Henrich Je Alcantara, 19 --  said that the policeman was drunk and armed with a short firearm. He allegedly shouted words “Ano ang problema ninyo?” then fired in the air once.

The suspect also told Henrich Je "Ikaw, masama ba ang loob mo?", prompting the scared teenagers to scamper away and report the incident to the Santa Rosa police. ###
 

 

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