Volume 15 / No. 13                                                                                                               July 15, 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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CA reinstates Pantabangan mayor

The Court of Appeals has reinstated Pantabangan Mayor Lucio Uera who had been dismissed from the service by the Office of the Ombudsman for suspending municipal employees without justification in 2005.

The decision, written by Associate Justice Stephen Cruz and concurred in by Associate Justices Myra Garcia-Fernandez and Carmelita Salandanan-Manahan, reversed and set aside the Ombudsman's dismissal order.

The CA ordered the reinstatement of Uera, declaring him the incumbent mayor of Pantabangan.

The case arose from a memorandum order issued by Uera for the preventive suspension of complainants Antonio Capia, Elizabeth Huerta, Enrico Tagle, Guillermo Mendoza and several other municipal employees for six months without pay for various offenses including unauthorized absences.

The CA decision noted that there was no substantial evidence to show that the issuance of Uera's memoranda were made for personal or selfish ends, nor was there a reasonable ground to believe that Uera acted in a capricious, whimsical and arbitrary manner, with conscious and deliberate intent to do injustice to others. ###

Pantabangan gets $2.2-M loan

The local government of Pantabangan signed a 12-year loan agreement worth $2.2 million  or P100.3 million with EastWest Banking Corporation for town development.

One-half of the loan proceeds will go to farm-to-market roads, including the construction and total rehabilitation of roads in six barangays to enable the efficient transport of farm products.

The rest of the amount will go to the construction of a transport terminal  for public utility buses, jeepneys and tricycles on a 1,000 square meter lot owned by the local government.

The improvement in transport is expected to boost tourism and agriculture in Pantabangan.

EastWest said the Pantabangan development project is in line with the bank's thrust of improving the lives of the communities it serves. ###

Veloso recruiters charged

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed charges of  human trafficking, illegal recruitment and estafa against the recruiters of Indonesia death row inmate May Jane Veloso.

Veloso was also cited as state witness in the charges against her recruiters, Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao.

This is the first charge against the two in connection with the Veloso case.

The two, currently detained at the provincial jail, are also facing trial for large-scale illegal recruitment filed by three other Novo Ecijanos last May.

The justice department, through the National Prosecution Service, accused Sergio, Lacanailao and a third person identified only as "Ike" of exploiting Veloso by taking advantage of her vulnerability and pretending to give her legitimate overseas employment as a domestic helper in Malaysia.

Once in Malaysia, the accused did not provide the victim with the promised job and instead, "the accused then and there duped, deceived, manipulated and prevailed upon the victim through a scheme to go to Indonesia with a suitcase provided by the accused and which contained illegal drugs, thereby deceiving and manipulating the victim to carry and transport the illegal drugs to Indonesia, without the consent and against the will of the victim.”

The DOJ said Sergio and Lacanilao recruited Veloso without first securing a license or authority from the government.

On the other hand, the estafa charge said the two and Ike misrepresented themselves as people who could provide Veloso with a job as a domestic helper in Malaysia and allegedly made her pay them P7,000 in cash.  ###

Gapan City voters to enjoy mall registration

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) said Gapan City voters who want to register  or update their personal data can go to a registration  booth at Walter Mart Gapan on July 31 and August 1.

The Gapan City mall is among several Walter Mart branches in six Luzon provinces that will be tapped by COMELEC for the registration of voters for the 2016 elections.

Satellite registration booths are already scheduled at Walter Mart Makiling, Laguna (July 15); Walter Mart Calamba, Laguna (July 17); Walter Mart Tanauan, Batangas (July 17); Walter Mart San Fernando, Pampanga (July 17 and 18); Walter Mart Guiguinto, Bulacan (July 25); Walter Mart Gen. Trias, Cavite (July 25); Walter Mart Sta. Maria, Bulacan (July 31); and Walter Mart Plaridel, Bulacan (July 31 and August 1).

COMELEC Chair Andres Bautista said they want to bring the success of mall registration in Metro Manila to the provinces.

“During regular days in local COMELEC offices, only a handful go in to register. With these [Metro Manila] results, it only shows that people will even bear long lines inside malls just to be able to register,” he said. ###

30 volunteers to protect Gabaldon forest

A total of 30 residents of Gabaldon joined the Wildlife Enforcement Officer (WEO) training program to help protect the forests of Mount Mingan, a part of the the Sierra Madre mountain range.

The program aimed to equip volunteer forest guards with basic knowledge on environment laws and protection strategies.

The Gabaldon volunteers include farmers, tricycle drivers, vendors, loggers and bulldozer operators.

In partnership with the Department of  Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government of Gabaldon, the volunteers will monitor and protect forests in the Sierra Madre, the country's longest mountain range, and wildlife like the Philippine Eagle.

The Gabaldon eagle, a juvenile Philippine eagle, was last spotted in Mount Mingan in 2014.

The program is jointly sponsored by German International Cooperation, DENR, Birdlife International, Toyota, Zoological Society of London-Edge Program, Haribon Foundation and the municipality of Gabaldon. ###

Peñaranda councilor hurt in slay try

A Sangguniang Bayan member of Peñaranda was wounded in an ambush staged by unidentified men last July 6.

The victim was identified as Wilfredo Abesamis, 59 years old, of Sitio Santo Niño, Barangay San Josef.

He was rushed by responding policemen to Good Samaritan Hospital in Gapan City for treatment.

Abesamis, driving a pick-up truck, was about to enter his compound at 9:20 P.M. when he heard gunshots from the left side.

He drove the pick-up away from the compound but the armed men chased him and continued firing, hitting him in the back and arm.

Recovered from the scene were 11 shells, a slug and two caliber .45 metal fragments.

The motive for the attack is being looked into. ###

Girl dies in Bongabon stabbing spree

A 13-year-old girl was killed while three others were wounded in a stabbing spree by their grandmother's alleged lover in Bongabon last July 3.

The fatality, Jaselliet Wakit, was stabbed 16 times by Isidro Bulandos, a former traffic enforcer who reportedly had a relationship with her grandmother.

Wounded in the attack were Wakit's grandmother, Juliet Quigas, 51, and her two siblings Jerson Kurt, 8, and Gian Dave, 7.

Ins. Alexander Pranada, Bongabon deputy police chief, said one of the siblings told police that they heard noise from the victim's room and when they went to check, they saw the suspect stabbing the girl.

Bulandos then turned his attention on the other victims and stabbed them.

It was learned that the suspect wanted to reach a settlement with the Wakit family after he was charged with molesting the eldest child last May.

The suspect managed to escape, leaving behind the knife used in the attack. ###

Student hangs self after pa's scolding

The body of a 17-year-old college student  was found hanging, apparently a victim of suicide, after being scolded by his father for coming home drunk.

The victim was identified as Nelson Punzalan of Barangy Subul, Guimba.

His body, with a blanket tied around the neck, was discovered by his mother in a nipa hut near their house at 8:30 A.M. last July 3.

It was learned that the night before, the victim was confronted by his father, Reynaldo, 49, for coming home late and drunk.

The victim ignored his father and went to the adjacent nipa hut to sleep.

Early the following morning, the father woke up the victim so he could prepare himself for school but the son he would get out of bed later since his classes were in the afternoon.

That was the last time the victim was seen alive. ###

Man arrested for drawing gun in Pantabangan town hall compound

A man was arrested  for allegedly drawing his pistol during a confrontation between two groups in the compound of the  Pantabangan town hall.

Arrested was Arjay Villaflor, 39, who yielded an unlicensed gun.

Police are verifying information that Villaflor is a bodyguard of a local politician.

It was learned that Villaflor allegedly drew his gun and when accosted was unable to present documents showing his gun is licensed.

He was detained at the police station and faces charges of illegal possession of firearm. ###

Cuyapo employee raped, killed

A lady employee of a motorcycle company was allegedly raped and killed by a tricycle driver in Cuyapo last July 14.

Supt. Cherry Lou Donato, spokesperson of Police Regional Office 3, said the victim was Mary Jane Villanueva, single, an employee of SYM Motors and resident of Barangay San Antonio.

The victim was found naked and dead in the living room of her house at about 10:30 P.M.

She had several bruises on the face and neck.

The suspect, Johnson Lacurom, 31, tricycle driver and the victim's neighbor, was arrested after Barangay Chair Rainier Mangabat alerted the Cuyapo police and barangay tanods.

A witness said the suspect was seen in front of the victim's house at 9:00 P.M. The victim was heard shouting for help at around 10:20 P.M.

Another witness who was awakened by the commotion inside the victim's house, saw the suspect fleeing. He joined the other residents in chasing the suspect until he was caught. ###

Shabu worth P1-M seized in Guimba checkpoint

Shabu with a street value of almost P1 million was confiscated from two cousins at a police checkpoint in Barangay Cavite, Guimba last July 5.

The suspects, Arthur Corpuz, 33, and Hannibal Corpuz, both of Barangay Pandalla, Science City of Muñoz, were also found carrying a hand grenade.

The suspects were aboard a car registered to a certaiun Carlo Gutierrez of Zamboanga Street, Nayong Kaunlaran, Quezon City. Found inside was half a kilo of shabu worth almost P1 million.

Supt. Ricardo Villanueva, Provincial Public Safety Command chief, said the illegal drug came from Muntinlupa City.

The suspects face charges of violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act and illegal possession of explosive. ###

Robbers break into NEECO II area office

Robbers broke into the office of Nueva Ecija II Electric Cooperative-Area 1 (NEECO II-Area 1) in Barangay Malasin, Santo Domingo last July 9.

Edgar Allan Parungao, NEECO II-Area 1 manager, said that based on CCTV footage, the suspects entered the premises by destroying the iron grills at the back window.

Among the items carted away were a caliber.38 revolver, a 12-gauge shotgun and a pair of new Converse shoes worth P3,000. ###

Talavera spa robbed

Unidentified men entered and robbed Nail Varnish and Spa owned by Ruitz Mara Dizon-Andres in Barangay Calipahan, Talavera.

The break-in was discovered bty Corazon Dagman-Valdez, manicurist, 48, of Barangay Lomboy when she opened the shop at about 10:30 A.M.

The robbers took a P7,000 wristwatch, 30 miniature bottles of assorted cologne worth P12.000, three kilos of frozen tocino and P1,320 in cash.

Investigators said the suspects entered by destroying the window in the toilet at the back of the building. ###

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