mulls suit for link to pork barrel
Former Forth District Rep.
Rodolfo Antonino denied having certified
a list of farmers who allegedly
benefited from a P15 million livelihood
project in his district in 2007.
In an interview with ABS-CBN
News Channel, he explained that during
an audit, the Commission on Audit (COA)
wrote to him to certify the correctness
of a list of project beneficiaries that
received 7,275 livelihood kits
distributed in Gapan City and in the
towns of San Isidro, General Tinio,
Cabiao, Jaen, Peñaranda and San
He said the signature on the
list was not his.
"I wrote them on February 28
and I said categorically that my
signatures were forged and I asked COA
for help because forgery of signatures
is a crime," Antonino said.
He said COA no longer replied
afterwards and questioned why the agency
did not raise the issue in an exit
conference which is a part of the audit
Antonino said he usually
allocated his Priority Development
Assistance Fund to the Kapit-Bisig Laban
sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated
Delivery of Social Service
(KALAHI-CIDDS) project of the Department
of Social Welfare and Development.
He questioned the decision of
the Ombudsman to file malversation case
against him and several other persons.
He said he could have explained the
"Para bang yung proseso ay
hindi kami binibigyan ng pagkakataon
para malinaw yan in the soonest
possible time," he said.
He said he is thinking of
filing charges for damaging his
"This is a name to be
protected that I inherited from my
father and mother who were senators in
the 60s with Ninoy Aquino. For them, to
just come out to make pogi points...why
issue a press release when there is
still a preliminary investigation," he
Antonino is the son of
Gaudencio Antonino, senator from 1961 to
1967, and Magnolia Welborn-Antonino,
senator from 1969 to 1972. ###
bishop issues pastoral letter on
Bishop Roberto Mallari of the
Diocese of San Jose called on the
faithful to act as the government's
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
(CARP) is due to end this month.
In a pastoral letter read in
all churches of the diocese that covers
the northern half of Nueva Ecija,
Mallari said that though billions of
pesos have been spent on CARP, the job
remains unfinished and must continue.
“I call on everyone to pray
collectively to open the heart of those
in government to do something to help
(the helpless) whose only hope is God,”
He citred the 6,000 hectares
of farm lands in Guimba, Cuyapo and
Nampicuan and 1,200 hectares in
Carranglan that still face distribution
He recalled how the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philippines
called on the government to extend the
implementation of CARP but to no avail.
He also mentioned how lawmakers ignored
the many groups pushing for the passage
in Congress of the Agrarian Reform Bill
calling for the distribution of lands to
the landless for free.
“If the government and the
lawmakers are blind on the calls to help
the poor, who then can they rely on?
When will they give importance to the
call to help the poor especially the
farmers?” the bishop asked.
The bishop called on the
faithful to coordinate with the Social
Action Commission of the diocese for
appropriate actions that must be done to
help those "who now rely on help only
from God". ###
2014 Taong Putik Festival
National and international
media descended on Barangay Bibiclat,
Aliaga last June 24 for this year's
staging of 'Taong Putik Festival'.
The fiesta, held in honor of
Saint John the Baptist, features
hundreds of devotees clad in costumes
meant to approximate those of the patron
saint -- banana leaves and vines,
smeared with mud. At dawn, the
participants went around the barangay
asking for candles and alms, then
converged in the church plaza for the
Holy Mass and blessing officiated by the
parish priest, Rev. Fr. Carlos Padilla.
[Photos courtesy of
Manila Bulletin and Manila Times.]
Licensure Exam passer lands in Top
An alumnus of the Wesleyan
University-Philippines (WUP) College of
Nursing made it to the list of Top 10
passers of the Nurse Licensure
Examination given by the Professional
Regulation Commission last May.
Camille R. Cruz landed in the
10th place, the only one from a school
in Nueva Ecija.
Among local schools, WUP also
registered the highest passing rate at
41.73%; followed by Araullo
University-PHINMA, 39.53%; Nueva Ecija
University of Science and Technology,
37.41%; M.V. Gallego Foundation
Colleges, 27.78%; Nueva Ecija Colleges,
18.92%; and Dr.
Gloria D. Lacson Foundation Colleges,
More rice price hikes
Nueva Ecija rice millers said
consumers should be ready for more
increases in the price of rice,
especially during the lean months.
Edgardo Alfonso, president of
the San Jose City Rice Millers
Association, said they bought dried
palay at P25 per kilo and P20 to P21 per
nkilo for fresh harvest. He said they
cannot be expected to sell well-milled
rice at lower than P38 a kilo.
He said rice millers deliver
their products to wholesalers, who then
pass them down to retailers who also
need to earn by increasing their prices.
“We agree that there is a thin
supply of rice in the market due to the
unattained target (in the government's)
rice self-sufficiency program and that’s
why the government imported rice. But we
don’t see that the price of commercial
rice can be pushed down as that would
mean losses for those engaged in the
grains business,” he said.
He said the millers’
association supplies wholesalers in
Metro Manila, Cebu province and Southern
Tagalog provinces with at least 30,000
bags of rice daily. They price
their commodity without the influence of
any group or individual, he said.
Alfonso questioned the
Department of Agriculture's move of
allowing rice millers and traders to
offer very high farm gate prices. He
said the agency should have intervened.
"It was okay that farmers
earned much, but how about the consumers
now? They are crying because of the high
price of milled rice,” he said.
He said the government should
consult with leaders of the rice
industry to draw up proper strategies to
handle the situation. ###
Rice hull prices go up
Rice hull -- ipa -- a
by-product of rice milling, now commands
The waste material once posed
a major environmental problem as they
were simply dumped and burned anywhere,
even on roadsides.
Edgardo Alfonso, president of
the San Jose Rice Millers Association,
said rice hull has become an expensive
commodity because it is used by cement
He said the material, also
used to run electric power plants, now
sells for 80 centavos up to P1 a kilo.
Alfonso, chief operating
officer of San Jose I Power Corporation,
said his company will soon buy rice hull
at P1 per kilo from the 26 rice millers
in San Jose City once the power plant
becomes operational in the last quarter
of the year.
He said the plant will be
using 100,000 to 120,000 metric tons of
rice hull every year -- about 70 percent
of the annual volume produced in the
He said his company plans to
build another power plant and will buy
the needed rice hull even from
Meanwhile, a similar
rice-hull-powered plant that can
generate 12 megawatts of electricity is
being built in Talavera, with the rice
hull coming from a big local rice mill.
nabbed in Gapan shabu 'tiangge'
Authorities arrested 77
persons during a raid on an alleged
shabu tiangge in Gapan City at
5:00 P.M. last June 28.
Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves,
provincial police director, said the
shabu market was located at Sitio
Riverside, Barangay San Vicente.
The raiding team was composed
of elements from the Gapan City police
under Supt. Diosdado Iniego, Nueva Ecija
and Central Luzon Criminal Investigation
and Detection Group under Chief Insp.
Roger Sebastian, Provincial Intelligence
Branch, 3rd Regional Philippine Drug
Enforcement Agency, Provincial and
Regional Public Safety Battalions and
the Provincial Task Force on Operation
The raid was done based on
four search warrants issued by Palayan
City Regional Trial Court Judge Evelyn
Among the items seized during
the raid were a caliber .38 revolver
with four bullets, shabu paraphernalia
and an undetermined amount of the
Those named in the search
warrants were Glen Garcia; Michael
Manalastas, who was included in the
target list for neutralization by the
PDEA-Region 2; Andrew Garcia alias
“Bona”; and Emilito Palad alias “Milet”.
They all eluded arrest.
May Andres, Palad's alleged
live-in partner, suspected drug user
Rafael Malang and 75 others were brought
to the Gapan City Police Station for
2 die in Jaen
Two siblings were killed when
a car crashed into an oil tanker in
Barangay Santo Tomas, Jaen.
The victims were identified as
Aries dela Cruz, 28, and his
sister Arlene, 31, eight months
Their two companions survived.
Investigation showed that the
siblings were on their way home to Jaen
from Pampanga when their car tried to
overtake another vehicle and collided
with the oncoming oil tanker.
The tanker driver claimed that
the car was was running fast. ###