Volume 17 / No. 02   |  January 31, 2017
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
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Umali denies Napoles link

Ex-Governor Aurelio Umali denied knowing Janet Napoles, said to be the mastermind of the pork barrel scam, after he was linked to her in the alleged misuse of P15 million of his pork barrel when he was still a congressman, for the procurement of fertilizer and irrigation pumps for farmers.

Umali made the denial while speaking at the induction of officers of the Nueva Ecija Press Club, Inc. at La Parilla Hotel in Cabanatuan City.

He stressed that he did not know Napoles personally and had not dealt with her.

He clarified that the P15 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) being questioned amounted to only P3 million. The balance of P12 million, he explained, was part of the nationwide Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Program.

Umali criticized some media organizations for not reporting the truth about his case and said he was a victim of trial by publicity.

I have not signed any MoA [memorandum of agreement, with Napoles] and yet I was maligned, vilified and ridiculed in the media, he said.

The Office of the Ombudsman recently issued a resolution indicting the former congressman, Napoles, Director Renato Manantan of the Department of Agriculture and accountant Narcisa Maninding at the Sandiganbayan for the alleged misuse of his P15 million PDAF.

Umali was also found guilty of administrative offenses of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and was ordered perpetually disqualified from office together with Manantan.

Umali denied the claims of field investigators that there were no purchases of fertilizer and irrigation pumps for farmers.

He also revealed that 27 cases have already been filed against him, with only three or four s still remaining while the rest had already been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Honorio Reyes, Umali's legal counsel, said all of the former congressman's PDAF was legally used in helping his constituents.

He said Umali has an unblemished record as a lawmaker and three-term governor of Nueva Ecija. ###

BI trashes deportation case against Rep. Vergara

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) trashed the deportation case against Third District Rep. Rosanna Vergara for allegedly being an American citizen for lack of jurisdiction.

In an order Dated December 20, 2016, the BI said Vergara's reacquisition of her Philippine citizenship a decade ago was "duly processed and approved" under Republic Act 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Law of 2003.

The decision was signed by Commissioner Jaime Morente upon the recommendation of Special Prosecutor Victor Andrew Sirigan and Legal Division Chief Cesar Santos.

Morente said the authority to rule on whether to revoke or not Vergara's reacqusition of Philippine citizenship belongs to the Department of Justice or the regular courts.

He said the BI lacks jurisdiction over the case and said the complaint filed by a Cabanatuan City resident, Philip Piccio -- an ally of former Governor Aurelio Umali --  should be addressed properly in a suit before a court of competent jurisdiction and with the participation of the Solicitor General. ###

Police officials support change in anti-drug campaign protocol

The provincial director of Nueva Ecija, Supt. Antonio Yarra, welcomed President Duterte's plan to dissolve all anti-narcotic units of the Philippine National Police and create a centralized body to replace them..

In Cabanatuan City, Supt. Wilfredo Zapra, city police chief, said drug pushers and users expected to enjoy selling illegal drugs after hearing news about Duterte's move but Central Luzon Police Director Aaron Aquino said the police will resume operation after an internal cleansing of the police force.

In Palayan City, Chief Insp. Arnel Santiago said the provincial police headquarters has advised them to stop "Oplan Tokhang". Instead, they would concentrate on "Lambat Sibat"operations against rape, murder, homicide and crimes against property.

In Aliaga, Chief Insp. Rex Perocho said he had received a text message from the provincial police office ordering them to stop the anti-drug campaign and the arrest of drug traffickers. However, they are allowed to arrest suspected drug pushers and users or anyone caught with illegal drugs during checkpoint operations.###

3 Lupao barangay officials nabbed in drug raids

Three barangay officials were arrested during anti-illegal drug operations in Lupao last January 21.

Barangay Chair Lou Salvador and Councilman Jonathan Sinagose of Poblacion West, and Councilman Joven Dagdag of Barangay Mapangpang were nabbed after President Duterte's disclosure during a speech in Cabanatuan City last January 19 that many of the 6,000 people in his narco-list were barangay officials.

The raiding team armed with search warrant seized four sachets of shabu and 27 caliber .22 bullets during the operations. ###

Drug dealer killed in Aliaga shootout

An unidentified suspected illegal drug dealer was killed in a shootout with the police in Aliaga last January 26.

The suspect, riding a motorcycle, ignored a checkpoint at the Bucot junction but was cornered in Barangay Bibiclat. He shot at the policemen triggering a firefight.

Recovered from the slain suspect were 14 sachets of shabu, a caliber .38 revolver and bullets. ###

San Leonardo drug personality dies in encounter with cops

A 41-year-old drug personality was killed in a shootout with policemen in Barangay Nieves, San Leonardo last January 16.

The fatality was identified as Vincent Wagan Soliman. He was declared dead on arrival at a hospital.

Investigation by PO3 Freddie Sevilla showed that at about 6:00 P.M., the policemen went to Soliman's house to serve a search warrant when the suspect suddenly pulled out his gun and fired at the authorities prompting them to fire back.

Recovered from the scene were a caliber .38 revolver, three .9mm shells and 10 sachets of shabu. ###

P100K reward for arrest of killers of Cabiao barangay exec

Cabiao Mayor Ramil Buenaventura Rivera is prepared to give a P100,000 reward for information that will lead to the solution of the killing of Association of Barangay Captains president Joel Abungin Vinuya and Ronaldo Ignacio Caingat.

The two were ambushed on the night of January 15 along the Gapan-Olongaqpo Road in Purok 7, Barangay Alua, San Isidro while on their way home from a cockfight.

The assailants were reportedly on board a black pick-up truck backed up by two motorcycle-riding men.

Sixteen caliber .45 shells were recovered from the crime site. ###

2 'Huks' held for guns in Cabiao

Two men in Cabiao said to be members of the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB) were arrested by the police and the military after being tipped off that they were armed while holding a drinking session with 14 others last January 29.

Sr. Supt. Antonio Yarra, provincial police director, identified those nabbed as Buenaventura Sagum, 52, businessman, of Purok 4, Barangay Natividad South, and Melquiedes de Guzman, 45, farmer, of Purok Cando, Mandili, Candaba, Pampanga.

They were arrested after authorities were alerted by a police asset that a group of armed men were seen engaged in a drinking session in Sitio Manaul, Barangay Sinipit.

The two suspects were caught with two unlicensed pistols during the combined operation of the local  police, the Army's 48th Infantry Battalion and the Provincial Public Safety Company.

Seized from Sagum was a caliber .45 pistol with six bullets, while de Guzman was found to have a caliber .45 pistol with seven bullets. They failed to present documents for the firearms and ammunition.

The 14 other men with the two suspects were also invited for questioning and verification.

Majority of them were from Candaba, Pampanga. ###

Pa suspected for death of stepdaughter

A 48-year-old man was questioned by the Jaen police one day after he reported the death of his 11-year-old stepdaughter in Barangay Lambakin last January 15.

Florante Eder told police that he found his stepdaughter, a Grade 4 pupil, dead inside their hut, naked and with multiple stab wounds.

PO2 Gerard Catacutan said Eder, who has been living with the victim's mother for five years, claimed that he went to their farm at 5:30 A.M. and was not at home when the victim returned after sleeping over at a neighbor's house.

However, the neighbor, a 62-year-old woman, claimed that the girl slept in her house for fear of being sexually molested by her stepfather, prompting investigators to invite him for questioning.

The victim's mother was working as a house helper in Jaen town proper when the incident happened. ###

2 arrested for smuggling illegal lumber

Two men were detained after they tried to smuggle illegal lumber through a checkpoint of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources at the Bermuda junction of Barangay East Poblacion, Pantabangan at dawn last January 30.

Those arrested were Jerome Amis Bote, 26, of Barangay Concepcion and Resty Peralta Reyes, 39, of Barangay Rio Chico, both in General Tinio.

The incident happened at 4:00 A.M. when a Delica van was stopped by policemen and DENR representatives conducting a checkpoint.

Found inside the van were 242 board feet of narra lumber  valued at P21,690.

The suspects could not present any transport clearance.###

Truck runs over Zaragoza motorcyclist 

A motorcycle rider was run over and killed by a dump truck in Barangay Santo Rosario Young, Zaragoza last January 23.

The unidentified victim riding a blue motorcycle with plate number QN 5930 was clad in T-shirt and shorts and  without any helmet.

Investigation by PO2 Devmer Diaz showed that at about 10:15 P.M., the victim was driving to the town proper when he tried to overtake another vehicle and lost control of his motorcycle causing it to fall.

The victim was then run over by an approaching dump truck. ###

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