No. 244 /  June 16-30, 2010
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 Umalis, Padiernos take oath
before SC chief justice


Re-elected Gov. Aurelio M. Umali, 3rd Dist. Rep. Czarina Umali, Board Member Anthony Umali and Vice Gov. Gay Padiernos took their oath of office before Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Supreme Court last June 30.

Umali said that he chose Corona for his oath taking to show respect to the judiciary. He said that would also take an oath before an executive official and a legislator.

He said that during his first term, he was also sworn into office by officials from the three branches of  the government.

It was learned that most of the local officials who won took their oaths of office before municipal and regional trial court judges.

Padiernos, on the other hand, said that they plan to have a mass oath taking together with other provincial officials. ###

Umali to reorganize provincial government

Newly re-elected Gov. Aurelio M. Umali plans to reorganize the provincial government to attain a lean and productive work force.

He said that the provincial government is studying how to implement the reorganization, including its cost.

“The reorganization plan has always been there which is to come up with a lean and productive work force. It's just a question of how much the provincial government will spend in carrying out the reorganization,” Umali said.

He said that the 3,000 or so capitol employees, including those that are permanent, regular, contractual and casual, will first undergo performance evaluation. He assured that the reorganization that will be implemented afterwards will strictly abide by the organizational chart of the Civil Service Commission.

Umali said that the Nueva Ecija provincial government does not have much money to implement many projects. In spite of this, he said that priority will be given to infrastructure to help to farmers, specifically those engaged in onion production, and livelihood programs for the poorest sector. ###

Umali, Catholic bishops reject operation of Ecija casino

Gov. Aurelio M. Umali rejected a plan to operate a private casino in San Leonardo, following the anti-gambling stance of a total of seven Catholic bishops in Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan.

Umali said that he agreed with the bishops who expressed their objection to the Nueva Ecija casino and another one in Urdaneta City by signing and issuing a statement entitled "Restoring Integrity, Alleviating Poverty".

In their statement, the bishops said that the opening of another casino will open more doors to corruption and pave the way for the impoverishment of gamblers.

Those who signed the statement were Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocese, Bishops Sofronio Bancud of Cabanatuan and Mylo Hubert Vergara of San Jose City, Jacinto Mendoza of Urdaneta, Marlo Peralta of Alaminos and Artemio Rillera of San Fernando, La Union and Auxiliary Bishop Renato Mayugba of Lingayen, all of the Ecclesiastical Metropolitan Province of Lingayen, Dagupan.

The bishops said that if it was not legally possible to close down casinos, the government should not open new ones.

Umali said that those behind the plan to open a casino in Nueva Ecija should follow legal processes. He clarified that on his own, he could not stop casino operations.

“If I stop it, then I should have closed down first the cockfight arenas. But I look at the matter not only on the morality side but also on the economic side,” he said.

Umali recounted that when he was still a congressman, he had opposed the plan to open a casino in Palayan City because he thought it was not feasible.

He said that the Sangguniang Panglalawigan approved the proposed casino before he became governor. ###

Court orders manual count of Cabiao votes

The Gapan City Regional Trial Court Branch 34 ordered the opening of ballot boxes and the manual count of votes in no less than 56 clustered precincts in Cabiao.

The ruling by Judge Celso Baguio was in answer to the election protest filed by Mayor Abundia Garcia of Unang Sigaw Partido ng Pagbabago against the proclaimed winner, Gloria Congco of Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija.

Congco, who ran for mayor after holding that position for three terms and going on a one term break, had been proclaimed as winner by the municipal board of canvassers. She got 16,278 votes against Garcia's 14,446 in the May 10 automated elections.

Garcia alleged that there was massive fraud during the elections, including vote buying and intimidation, and malfunctioning of precinct optical scan machines (PCOS) in some precincts, particularly in Barangay San Roque.

Some candidates for the Cabiao municipal council also filed protests.

Congco's lawyer, Petronilo David, opposed the reopening of the ballot boxes, saying that the ballots would not prove the allegation of massive fraud, especially vote buying.

However, Garcia's lawyer, Ramon Miguel Ongsiako, said that vote buying was not the only ground for the filing of an election protest.

He cited the alleged malfunctioning of the PCOS machines and compact flash cards as among the claims that call for the revision of ballots.

Judge Baguio, for his part, said that the only issue that need to be settled is who among Garcia and Congco actually won.

Four committees started the revision procedure last June 29. ###

Police recalls candidates' escorts

The Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office has recalled some 50 policemen who had served as security escorts of local candidates in the May 10 elections.

Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez, provincial director, said that with the end of the election period last June 9, cops detailed as security escorts of local candidates have been ordered to return to their mother units.

He, however, clarified that the recall order did not yet cover those detailed to Gov. Aurelio M. Umali, Vice Gov. Gay Padiernos, defeated Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson and all the winning candidates and incumbent officials in 27 towns and five cities.

Incumbent officials like Joson, who lost in the elections, will have their security escorts recalled when their terms end on June 30. ###

NE declared free of insurgency

Military and police officials have declared Nueva Ecija as insurgency free following the communist movement's loss of mass base support, and turned over to the provincial government the matter of internal security.

The province is the third in Central Luzon to be declared insurgency free, after Aurora and Tarlac.

The declaration was formalized last June 28 when Maj. Gen. Ireneo Espino, commanding general of the Army's 7th Infantry Division, turned over the internal security operations to Gov. Aurelio M. Umali, chair of the Provincial Peace and Order Council. ###

Hybrid rice farmers' harvest up by 35%

The Department of Agriculture said that rice farmers who used hybrid seeds for the summer crop season harvested 35.6 percent more rice than those who planted inbred certified seeds.

In a report to Agriculture Sec. Bernie Fondevilla, Dr. Frisco Malabanan, head of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Rice Program, said that in Nueva Ecija, more than 55,000 hectares of rice fields planted to hybrid rice yielded 7.73 metric tons per hectare.

The yield of regular inbred rice varieties is only from four to five metric tons per hectare.

Malabanan said that hybrid rice farmers realized P30,000 in profit per hectare, compared to only P15,000 when they were still planting regular seed varieties. ###

Taong Putik Festival 2010

Residents of Barangay Bibiclat, Aliaga, garbed in dried banana leaves
and smeared with mud, gather for the "Taong Putik Festival" 
marking the feast of their patron saint, John the Baptist, last June 24.

Rev. Fr. Carlos Padilla, parish priest, sprinkles Holy Water on the participants. 

The image of the patron saint is borne on the shoulders of the devotees

for the procession.

Photos courtesy of Reuters.


Search for new provincial police chief underway

The list of recommendees to the post of new Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office (NEPPO) chief has been narrowed to three from the original 18.

Said to be the early favorite to succeed Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez is Ramon Apolinario, chief of the regional personnel office of the National Capital Region Police Office and former police chief of Davao City.

A source from the Philippine National Police Directorate for Personnel and Records Management said that the two other contenders are Roel Obusan of the HIghway Patrol Group in Camp Crame and former intelligence officer of NEPPO, and Roberto Aligayu, former commander of the Regional Mobile Group of the Central Luzon Regional Police Office.

Marquez is about to complete his two year tour of duty in Nueva Ecija, which started on June 28, 2008. He has been credited with dismantling syndicated crime groups, private armed groups and the holding of the peaceful elections last May 10. ###

Ex-Board Member Perez blocks brother's judiciary appointment

Former Sangguniang Panglalawigan Member Claro Riccardo Perez asked the Judicial and Bar Council to revoke the appointment of his brother, former Cabanatuan City Vice Mayor Angelo Perez, as regional trial court judge.

The Perez brothers are sons of former Cabanatuan City Mayor Honorato C. Perez, Sr.

The former board member cited a string of cases and a pending disbarment case in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines against his brother who had been named as judge in the Cabanatuan Regional Trial Court Branch 27.

The bad blood between the Perez brothers surfaced following the death of their father in 1995, when two parcels of agricultural land with a total area of 4.2 hectares were given to Claro Riccardo as part of his share from the Perez estate. ###

DENR to intensify war vs. illegal logging

Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources vowed to intensify their campaign against illegal logging in Nueva Ecija.

Joselito Blanco, community environment and natural resources officer for Nueva Ecija-South, said that Army soldiers and DENR personnel worked overnight to recover 3,504 board feet of illegally sawn lumber from Barangay Rio Chico, General Tinio on June 11 and 12.

He said that the illegal loggers abandoned the lumber after sensing the arrival of DENR officials and soldiers from the Army's 7th Infantry Division.

Blanco said that the attempt to revive illegal logging in  General Tinio -- once known as the hotbed of illegal logging in Central Luzon -- coincided with the opening of classes when residents badly needed cash.

He said that illegal loggers had been hiring local residents to cut trees, making them believe that it was for domestic need.

Officials of the DENR, 7th ID, non government organizations and government agencies have signed an agreement for a coordinated action against illegal logging in the area which has been blamed for flooding downstream. ###

SC fires Guimba clerk of court

The Supreme Court dismissed from the service last June 21 a clerk of court in Guimba  for ignoring its orders and using prohibited drugs in 2004.

The high court also ordered the perpetual disqualification from public office of Rene de Guzman and forfeited all his retirement benefits except for his accrued leave credits.

The case stemmed from a lawyer's complaint about de Guzman's sloppy handling of the records of a criminal case. Although the Supreme Court cleared him of administrative liability, it still ordered him to comment on his supposed drug use and queer behavior in the office.

De Guzman ignored the SC's order and other succeeding orders, and was found positive for the use of illegal drug. ###

Armed man creates trouble in Talavera police station

The Talavera police arrested an armed man who allegedly created trouble in the police station while trying to force the authorities to release his detained companions.

Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez, provincial police director, said that Renato Michado of Barangay Bagong Sikat was arrested by the deputy station chief, Insp. Rolando Salonga, for carrying an unlicensed .45 caliber pistol and live bullets inside the police station.

Michado reportedly barged into the police station at about 9:40 P.M. armed with the pistol, and confronted those who had arrested his companions Celino Padiernos, 55, and Marcos Aquino, 35, reported to be security escorts of reelected Vice Mayor Vince de Leon and connected to the National Bureau of Investigation Nueva Ecija Field Office.

The policemen drew their guns and ordered Michado to drop his firearm. Instead of obeying, he ran to the back of a car parked in front of the police station and cocked his gun.

Supt. Renato David, Talavera police chief, who was then in civilian clothes, was able to go near Michado and grab his gun. ###

Security guard kills hold-upper

The private security guard of prominent Cabanatuan City businessman Antonio Chua shot and killed a hold-upper who had robbed the tutor of Chua's son last June 23 along General Tinio Street, Barangay Kapitan Pepe.

The fatality was identified as Carlos Fausto of Talavera.

Investigation showed that at about 5:50 P.M., Maria Lourdes Castro Rivera, 44, a private tutor, was knocking at the gate of the Chua home when two hold-uppers riding a motorcycle in tandem arrived and began to rob her. At that point, security guard Ryan Drigoli opened the gate and saw the incident. He fired at the hold-uppers, fatally hitting Fausto.

Fausto's companion, Ulyses Zamora Valdez, 38, of Barangay Sicsican Matanda, Talavera was hit in the shoulder but managed to escape. He was later arrested in Barangay La Torre, Talavera and taken to the Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City for treatment. ###

Ex-cop hunted for killing brother

A former policeman is being hunted for allegedly shooting his brother for an unpaid P400,000 loan in Barangay Manacsac, Guimba.

Police identified the suspect as Ayyot Ganot and the victim as Rino Ganot, his younger brother.

The victim and his wife were on board a tricycle on their way home at about 6:50 A.M. when the suspect confronted his brother about the unpaid loan.

When the argument got heated, Ayyot drew a .45 caliber pistol and shot his brother.

The victim's wife rushed him to a local hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

The suspect fled towards Victoria, Tarlac aboard a motorcycle that he had commandeered after the shooting. ###

Lightning kills Muñoz farmer

A bolt of lightning hit a 70 year old farmer on the nape while he was in the middle of a rice field in Purok 1, Barangay Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz at about 5:30 P.M. last June 14.

The victim was identified as Romeo Sacaman Valencia.

He was rushed to a clinic along Tobias Street, Poblacion South but was declared dead on arrival by Dr. Jarold Padilla. ###

Talavera farmer shot dead

A 46 year old farmer was shot and killed by two men who had trailed him along the national highway in Barangay Maestrang Kikay, Talavera last June 29.

The victim, Florante Alcantara de Guzman of Barangay Tabacao, sustained bullet wounds in the face and arms.

It was learned that at about 10:45 A.M., the victim was driving his motorcycle with his live-in partner riding in tandem, when he stopped to urinate at the roadside.  The two suspects, riding in tandem a motorcycle without plate numbers, stopped near the victim and the back rider got down and fired at him at close range.

Investigators are still looking into the motive for the killing. ###

Gapan teenager blasts self

A 17 year old girl accidentally fired a 12 gauge shotgun at her face last June 26 in Barangay San Roque, Gapan City.

In a report to the provincial police office, Supt. Ricardo Villanueva identified the victim as Lealyn Pascual de Leon.

Investigation showed that de Leon had been asked by the couple Rolando and Dolores Marquez to watch over their daughter Loreza while they were away in Barangay Santa Lucia, San Miguel, Bulacan. The couple reportedly left the shotgun with the victim to use in defending herself and her ward in an emergency.

It was learned from Loreza that early that morning, they heard somebody trying to open the house door so the victim grabbed the shotgun but accidentally pulled the trigger while the barrel was pointed at her face. ###

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