Volume 15 / No. 8                                                                                                                   April 30, 2015
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
and updated every 15th and
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Ecijana drug convict gets Indonesian reprieve

Mary Jane Veloso, the Novo Ecijana scheduled to face a firing squad in Indonesia for bringing in heroin, was given a reprieve at past midnight last April 29.

The execution of eight other drug convicts pushed through.

The attorney general of Indonesia, JM Prasetyo, said an exception was made for Veloso because of a last-minute plea from President Aquino to let Veloso serve as witness against a drug trafficking syndicate.

Veloso's family members who had been flown to Indonesia to be with her, rejoiced upon learning of the postponement of the execution. They were asleep aboard a coaster on their way to Jakarta after seeing Veloso for what was supposed to be the final time at the execution island when they learned of the news.

Veloso was born to a poor family in Barangay Esguerra, Talavera. She was the youngest of five siblings and reached only first year high school. She got married early and bore two children before she and her husband separated. The family later transferred to  Barangay Caudillo in Cabanatuan City.

She worked in Dubai as a domestic helper, then returned to the Philippines before her two-year contract ended because, according to her Indonesian lawyer, she was almost raped.

In 2010, she was offered another job as a domestic helper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by her god-sister, Maria Cristina Sergio, but when she arrived there, the job was not available anymore.

Sergio then allegedly asked Veloso to go to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, giving her a brand new suitcase and $500. Veloso noticed that the suitcase, though empty, seemed heavy.

Veloso arrived in Yogyakarta on April 25, 2010, where authorities found packs of heroin in aluminum foil totaling 2.6 kilos in the lining of her suitcase. She was arrested and investigated.

During the interrogation, she was not provided with a lawyer or translator.

In the trial, the interpreter provided by the court was not licensed by the Association of Indonesian Translators, and translated the proceedings from Bahasa Indonesia to English, a language Veloso was not fluent in. Her lawyer was a public defender provided by the police.

The trial ended in October 2010, just six months after Veloso's arrest. The prosecutors asked the court for a sentence of life imprisonment but the judges handed down the death penalty.

She escaped death when Indonesia imposed a moratorium on executions but in October 2014, the new Indonesian president announced he would reject all clemency requests from drug convicts on death row because of the serious illegal drug situation in the country. Affected by that decision was Veloso's request. ###

Cabanatuan COMELEC purges dead voters from list

An intial batch of 1,251 voters in Cabanatuan City have been deleted from the master list of 5,000 dead voters by the local Commission on Elections (COMELEC) office.

Leonardo Navarro, city election officer, said the removal of dead voters started in May last year and will continue until October this year, in time for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2016 elections.

Navarro admitted that dead voters were able to vote during past barangay elections because people in the locality knew who were already dead but still included in the voters' list.

He said they are verifying the list of other dead voters and securing death certificates from the civil registrar to help speed up the process of cleaning the voters' list. ###

Ecija owes high rice yield to hybrid seeds

Nueva Ecija is fast emerging as the hybrid rice seed capital.

In Santo Domingo, Mayor Leonides de Guzman said the use of hybrid seeds played a crucial role in improving the income and quality of life of rice farmers who are able to harvest up to 380 cavans per hectare.

Crispulo Bautista, Jr., Department of Agriculture assistant regional director, said based on official data, Nueva Ecija registered an average yield of 6.07 metric tons per hectare in 20124, higher than the 5.30 metric tons per hectare recorded in 2013. It is also much higher than the national average of 3.9 metric tons per hectare.

He said that hybrid rice is one reason for the increase in the region's rice production, with hybrid rice planting expanded to nearly 84,000 hectares this dry season compared to only 51,000 hectares last year.

During  the recent hybrid rice harvest festiva in Santo Domingo, the agriculture department and the municipal government awarded Angel Morales, who harvested 380 cavans per hectare; Antonio Martin, 224 cavans per hectare; and ten others for their record-breaking production. ###

Pantabangan Dam nears critical level

The water level at Pantabangan Dam has dropped to below 180 meters and is nearing the critical level.

Eng.Reynaldo Puno, operations manager of Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation  Systems, said the water level as of April 21 was 178.99 meters.

This was still 7.49 meters above the critical level of 171.5 meters but only two meters above the minimum level required to operate the Pantabangan power plant.

Puno said the water level is expected to drop to 177 meters by the end of April. ###

4 US soldiers victimized by thieves in Fort Magsaysay

Four American soldiers participating in the RP-US Balikatan Exercises were victimized by thieves inside Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City.

Supt. Leandro Novilla of the Palayan City police said the incident happened last April 9 but they were informed about it only after several days.

The victims were identified as Army Lieutenants Patrick Tierney and Thomas Dunne and Staff Sergeants Scotty Wilson and Dwayne Massey.

Investigation showed that the robbery happened at about 1:00 P.M. while the victims were sleeping in the Exercise Relation Construction compound at the Special Operations Command of the 7th Infantry Division.

The suspects were able to enter the building after digging a hole at the perimeter fence.

Among the items stolen were a Samsung cell phone; one pair of military boots; one pair of rubber shoes; one wallet containing US credit card and driverís license; US Army military ID; one pair of slippers; two pairs of rubber shoes; and $2,150 and P2,000 in cash.

The military police later recovered the stolen items except for the cash and a pair of rubber shoes. These were turned over to the US Army last April 19. ###

Riding-in-tandem gunmen kill 2

Gunmen riding a motorcycle in tandem killed a lady palay agent and a man in separate incidents last April 27.

In San Jose City, Dorina Tolentino, 41, married, palay agent, of Sitio Kamanggahan, Barangay Piut, Carranglan was shot dead while sitting in front of Ilocano Eatery along Maharlika Highway in Barangay Malasin.

Police said the victim had just eaten breakfast and was texting a friend when shot twice from behind by the gunman wearing a ski mask and bull cap.

The suspect then escaped aboard a motorcycle driven by his accomplice.

In Cabanatuan City, Nomerio Antonio, 376, married, driver, of Purok 2, Baranay Mataas na Kahoy, General Natividad was repeatedly shot by two suspects aboard a motorcycle in Camp Tinio at about 1.30 P.M. ###

Body parts in garbage bags show up in two places

A human left leg stuffed into a garbage bag was found in Barangy Tagpos, Santa Rosa on the night of April 26.

The garbage bag was reportedly thrown from a speeding motorcycle in front of the house of Marita Nazar.

Nazar said she was awakened after she heard a loud thud in front of her house while a motorcycle passed by at 10:40 P.M.

She then asked a cousin, Armando dela Cruz, who was walking in front of her house, to check.

Dela Cruz saw a garbage bag which was found to contain a human leg.

The following day, another garbage bag with a human right leg was found by a tricycle driver, Marlon Caliso of Zulueta Street, at about 3:00 A.M.

Police are investigating if the two incidents are connected. ###

Decomposing body found in San Isidro irrigation canal

The decomposing body of a man was discovered floating in an irrigation canal in Sitio Manggahan, Barangay Pulo, San Isidro last April 15.

Chief Insp. Julius Caesare Manucdoc said the body was found by Roberto Santos, a farmer.

The body was covered with rice sacks and plastic garbage bags tied around with copper wires to a huge rock.

The victim had chest lacerations and was between 35 and 40 years old, from 5'6" to 5'8" tall, of large build, fair and tattooed with "Guardians 99 Rossi" and "Jhing" on the left shoulder. He was wearing black Colombia sports pants, brown belt, blue Giordano T-shirt and tri-colored socks.

The body was brought to Bandy Funeral Services in Barangay Poblacion. ###

San Antonio businesswoman shot dead

A businesswoman was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen in San Antonio last April 21.

An initial report by Insp. Arturo Danipod of the local polce said the suspect entered the store of the victim, Merlinda de Laya, 52, in Barangay Tikiw and shot her thrice.

The suspect escaped on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice.

The victim was rushed to San Antonio District Hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.

Police said motives for the killing could be a grudge or business rivalry. ###

Cabanatuan's top wanted person arrested

The Number One most wanted person in Cabanatuan City was arrested last April 28.

Chief Supt. Ronald Santos, officer-in-charge of Police Regional Office 3, identified the suspect as Edison Manulid of Barangay Kalikid Sur.

He was wanted for statutory rape, with no bail recommended. ###

3 arrested for pushing shabu

Three suspected shabu pushers were arrested last April 23.

Chief Supt. Ronald  Santos, officer in charge of Police Regional Office 3, identified the suspects as Benigno Angeles, 45, of Barangay San Mariano, San Antonio; Ruben Villanueva, 43, of Barangay Camp Tinio, Cabanatuan City; and Elizer Quejada, 27, of  Santo Domingo.

They yielded three plastic sachets oif suspected shabu and marked money used in the buy-bust operations. ###

Jaen farmer killed 

A 39 year old farmer was shot dead by an unidentified man in front of his son and nephew while gathering grass for his carabao in Jaen last Aprl 17.

The victim was identified as Mario Victorio, married, of Purok 5, Barangay Niyugan.

Victorio was with his 10-year old son Simon and nephew Andrew Esguerra when shot multiple times by the suspect from behind.

The suspect, wearing a bull cap and sunglasses and a handkerchief covering his face, escaped on foot. ###

Quezon vehicular accident kills couple

A 52 year old businessman and his wife died when the motorcycle they were riding collided with a jeepney in Quezon town.

The victims, Victorio and Zenaida Jose, died on the spot from head injuries.

The jeepney driver, Gani Sarmiento, 41, surrendered to the police and was charged with reckless imprudence resulting in double homicide. ###

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