Volume 17 / No. 09   |   May 15, 2017
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
and updated every 15th and
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Ex-Peñaranda vice-mayoral candidate, wife killed

Police are looking into personal grudge or business rivalry as the motives behind the killing of a  former vice-mayoral candidate in Peñaranda and his wife last May 6.

The victims, Jerry Abesamis,48, who unsuccessfully ran in the 2016 elections, and his wife Alicia, 47, were repeatedly shot by four men who escaped aboard a Toyota Vios car after the attack.

The couple owned the Jerry de Alicia Farm and Resort in Barangay Las Piñas and were relatives of Mayor Ferdinand Abesamis.

The victims were eating inside Baby's Kitchenette owned by Jerry's parents at the public market when killed at 9:30 A.M.

Jerry died on the spot while his wife was declared dead on arrival at Good Samaritan Hospital in Gapan City.

A companion, Lea Reyes, 23, teacher, of Cruz na Ligas, UP Diliman, Quezon City, was wounded in the left leg by a stray bullet.

The suspects fled in the direction of Gapan City.

Sr Insp. Gregorio Bautista, town police chief, said politics has been ruled out as a motive for the killings and business rivalry is being eyed.

Sr. Supt. Antono Yarra, provincial police director, said investigators are looking at personal grudge as another possible motive. ###

Intensified anti-drug campaign results in 100 cops dismissed, 10 barangay chiefs arrested

The intensified crackdown on illegal drugs in the province has resulted in at least 100 policemen being relieved from their posts and reassigned to other areas while 10 barangay chairs were arrested.

Sr. Supt. Antonio Yarra, provincial police director, said some of the relieved cops had gone on absence without leave (AWOL).

In a media briefing, Yarra said the relieved personnel have been transferred to Mindanao, with his office still tracking down those who went AWOL.

He said the United Stand Against Drugs (USAD) organized by the provincial government has been a big help in the campaign in all the five cities and 27 municipalities.

“The provincial government under Gov. Czarina D. Umali has been very supportive of our anti-drugs campaign in terms of logistics. Without its support, we will be hard-pressed to eradicate drugs in our midst,” he said.
He said that despite the large number of policemen found to be involved in illegal drugs, none has tested positive for illegal drug use so far.

Yarra said some barangay officials who have surrendered to the police during the anti-illegal drug campaign, including a barangay kagawad, are now undergoing reformation. ###

DOH expects first batch of drug rehab facility graduates by middle of the year

The Department of Health (DOH) will produce its first batch of 22 graduates from the Mega Treatment and Rehab Facility in Fort Magsaysay before the middle of the year or early June.

Sec. Paulyn Obial said the graduating patients were admitted to the facility last December.

As of April 30, the number of patients admitted to the facility totals 227. Those admitted had been assessed by physicians as "severe" illegal drug users.

“The DOH considers both drug abuse and drug dependence as a mental health concern. We look at the spectrum of health services from preventive, promotive to curative which is detoxification lasting for two weeks or more and rehabilitative lasting from six months up to 12 months,” Obial said.

She expressed the hope that drug users can be reformed and reintegrated back to society as productive citizens. ###

Mega rehab center offers free services to indigents

Indigent drug addicts can now avail themselves of free rehabilitation at the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Fort Magsaysay

Christopher Daraub, the center's program coordinator, said they do not charge indigent persons anything as long as they have a referral from the local government.

He said the drug dependents in the center are aged 18 to over 50 years old from Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Pampanga and Aurora.

Daraub said that before one is admitted to the center, there has to be an evaluation by a trained physician on the severity of the drug dependence. Mild to moderate drug users are sent to community-based rehab programs while heavy users are confined at the rehab center.

Each patient has to get a referral from the local government and a court clearance indicating that he has no pending legal case. In case there is such pending case, the court will suspend it to facilitate the rehabilitation of the suspect. The rehab process averages six month in length.

Daraub clarified that while the mega rehab center has space for 10,000 patients, only 500 are admitted at the moment. ###

DAR wants to end land conversions

The government plans to end the widespread land conversions that have defeated the goal of attaining food sufficiency for many year now.

Sec, Rafael Mariano of the Department of Agrarian Reform, speaking in Llanera during the town's founding anniversary, revealed that they are waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign an executive order that will stop land conversions nationwide.

He explained that the President's order will call for a two-year moratorium on the acceptance of applications for land conversions. The period will give DAR time to re-evaluate the previously approved land conversion applications to see if those lands were developed or not.

Mariano was in Llanera last May 8 to grace the celebration of the 62nd founding anniversary of the town, focusing on the role of farmers in national development.

He was invited by Mayor Ronnie Pascual to the celebration called "Bannua a Mannalon" or :"Farmers as Heroes" to make the residents realize their vital role in the development of the agriculture-based economy of the town.

In Nueva Ecija, about 25 percent of rice and vegetable farms had been turned into commercial areas, depriving farmers of means of livelihood. ###

Illegal narra and dao wood flitches seized

A truck full of banned narra and dao wood flitches was seized while two persons involved in transporting them were arrested at a checkpoint in San Jose City.

Florencio Lalu, community environment and natural resources officer for northern Nueva Ecija, said the seized shipment was loaded in an Isuzu van when discovered at an anti-illegal logging checkpoint in Barangay Tayabo.

Arrested were Juan Melchor Apolinario, driver, and his helper, Marlon Santiago, both of Poblacion, San Miguel, Bulacan.

The undocumented products consisted of 53 pieces of narra and nine dao flitches with a total volume of 1,532. board feet.

The alleged owner was Romy Mayes of Region 1, while the wood shipment came from Gattaran, Cagayan for delivery to Manila.

The two suspects who failed to present the necessary wood transport documents, allegedly admitted that they were aware they were carrying banned wood products.

Lalu said there were people calling him up and demanding that he go easy on the case. ###.

DA intervention gives hope to Santo Domingo onion producers

Onion farmers in Santo Domingo are optimistic that the Deprtment of Agricuture's Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) is the answer to their problem of spoilage of onions during the peak season.

Harvest season involves a huge amount of onions that need to be sold immediately because lack of storage could result in spoilage, and major income losses from marketing problems.

With the intervention of PRDP, a P5.3 million effort dubbed the Santo Domingo Onion Enterprise will provide onion farmers with opportunities to boost their onion-based incomes by ensuring access to storage facilities and marketing linkages.

The Pulong Buli Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative is the lead proponent of the enterprise, along with the Saint Dominic Farmers' Cooperative which will manage the business. The cooperative now markets onions produced by its members and buys to meet demands when necessary.

For continuous supply to its target markets, some of the onions will be held in dryer/hanger and cold storage facilities in Palayan City, to be withdrawn for delivery on a periodic basis. ###

New graft, malversation charges filed vs. ex-Pantabangan mayor

The Office of the Ombudsman has filed new graft and malversation charges against former Pantabangan Mayor Lucio Uera.who had been convicted in an earlier graft case.

Uera was charged with one count of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and three counts of malversation of public funds.

In the charge sheets filed with the Sandiganbayan, the Ombudsman alleged that Uera, in April 2006, "willfully, unlawfully and criminally" disbursed  a cash advance to himself amounting to P60,000 used to fund his trip to Australia to watch an animal show.

The Ombudsman said Uera went on the trip without travel authority thus giving himself "unwarranted benefits advantage and preference" and causing undue injury to the government.

The Ombudsman added that from February to April 2006, Uera also "feloniously" took, misappropriated and converted public funds with a total of P84,605.84 "for his personal use and benefit."

A total of P150,000 bail was recommended for Uera's temporary liberty --30,000 for graft and P40,000 for each count of malversation

Uera had been convicted by the Sandiganbayan and sentenced to six years of imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from public office for the anomalous awarding of a contract for Pantabangan's power system management and maintenance to a pivate firm connected with his wife, Ruby. ###

Robbery-slay of San Isidro retired teachers solved

The San isidro police have solved the robbery-killing of a couple of retired teachers with the arrest of the victims' nephew and his wife .

Chief Insp. Romeo Gamis Jr. identified the suspects as Marcelo Villafuerte, 31, and his wife, Jasmin, 31, both of Purok 6, Barangay San Roque.

The suspects were arrested following a search of their house by local police and operatives from the Provincial Intelligence Branch after they were tagged as responsible for the killing last April 27 of Eusebio Matias, 69, and his wife, Sobrina, 65, both retired teachers.

Sr. Supt. Antonio Yarra, provincial police director, said the operation was conducted after Executive Judge Celso Baguio of the Gapan City Regional Trial Court issued a search warran. This resulted in the recovery of jewelry stolen from the victims.

Also found in the suspects' house were suspected blood trails and stains on the comfort room door, concrete wall, bed foam, floor mat and plastic drawer.

Yarra said Marcelo, a nephew of Sobrina, sustained a cut on one hand and initially pretended he knew nothing of the incident as he was the first to arrive at the crime scene

It was learned that the suspects were deeply indebted to the Matias couple from their jewelry business. ###

Lupao businesswoman shot dead

A 51-year old businesswoman in Lupao was repeatedly shot by two unidentified suspects riding a motorcycle in tandem last May 14.

The victim was identified as Rowena de Guzman of Barangay Poblacion North. She was declared dead from gunshot wounds in the head on arrival at the Heart of Jesus Hospital in San Jose City.

Sr. Spt.Antoni Yarra, provincial police director said the killing was done in front of Jesus is Alive church in Barangay San Pedro at 8:30 A.M.

The victim was about to get down from a tricycle to attend a worship service when shot in the head by one of the suspects.

Before the suspects left, one of them shot the victim again in the head before fleeing in the direction of Umingan, Pangasinan.

The motive for the killing has yet to be established.###

Baranggay official, woman arrested in drug busts

A barangay councilor of Aliaga and a woman in Cabanatuan City were arrested in separate drug busts.

Jay Serrano, 44, a councilman of Barangay Bucot, Aliaga, was caught with two sachets with shabu residue and various drug paraphernalia by policemen who raided his house at 6:30 A.M. last May 10.

In Cabanatuan City on the same day, Rowena dela Cruz, 44, of Barangay Dicarma was allegedly in the middle of a transaction with a man when she noticed policemen in the area.

She was caught while throwing away two plastic sachets of shabu.

The man she was dealing with sped away when he spottted the policemen. ###

2 drug suspects killed in Cabanatuan City

Two drug suspects were killed during an anti-illegal drug operation in Cabanatuan City last May 13.

One of the suspects was identified as Edmundo dela Vega.

An encounter between the suspects and members of the provincial drug enforcement unit and the Cabanatuan police took place in Block 11, Lot 11, AGL Subdivision, Barangay Calibangbangan at 2:00 P.M.

Yarra said the policemen were conducting an anti-illegal drug operation when dela Vega and his companion fired at them. ###

2-year-old boy dies in road accident

A two-year old boy died when  hit by an SUV along the Carmen-Aliaga Road in Barangay General Luna, Zaragoza

The vehicle was driven by Gilbert Lising Linsangan, 39, of  Barangay San Roque, Tarlac City and living in Barangay Pingit, Baler, Aurora.

The victim was identified as Xian Alessandre Agason of Block 48, Lot 97, Barangay Cristo Rey, Capas, Tarlac.

Investigation showed that the SUV was cruising towards the town proper when the boy suddenly crossed the road and was hit by the vehicle.

The boy was rushed to Nueva Ecija Doctors Hospital in Cabanatuan City where he was declared dead on arrival.

A case of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide was filed against Linsangan.###

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