Volume 16 / No. 13   |   July 15, 2016
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
and updated every 15th and
end of the month.
All rights reserved.

Ombudsman charges Antonino
for PDAF irregularities

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said she had ordered the filing of two counts of malversation and two counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against former Fourth District Rep. Rodolfo Antonino.

Also facing similar charges are former Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Arthur Yap, Alan Javellana, Rhodora Mendoza, Encarnita Cristina Munsod and Maria Ninez Guañizo,  who were officials of the National Agri-Business Corporation (NABCOR); Marilou Antonio, representative of Buhay Mo Mahal Ko Foundation, Inc. (BMMKFI); and Carmelita Barredo of C.C. Barredo Publishing House.

Records show that in a letter in January 2007, Antonino endorsed NABCOFR and BMMKFI to the agriculture department as implementors of his livelihood training kits sourced from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). BMMKFI procured from C.C. Barredo 7,275 sets of livelihood training kits valued at P2,000 each, or a total of P14.55 million, delivered by the supplier to the congressman and which he accepted and acknowledged.

Field verification by the Ombudsman later showed that the livelihood kits turned out to be a ghost project after several local officials denied having received them.

The Ombudsman said the project was not supported by any project proposal, physical and audited financial reports and monitoring reports. It was also found that there was no due diligence in the selection of the supplier and foundation and there was lack of public bidding or procurement for the project.

Morales said the respondents conspired in preparing fictitious reports and other liquidation documents to make it appear that the project was implemented.

For his part, Antonino denied dealing with spurious foundations and claimed that his signatures on the documents were forged.

“I deny all of it. In the Ombudsman resolution, there are four documents that I was part of, and all of those four documents have been proven through a handwriting expert that all my signatures were forged,” Antonino said. 

He said the Ombudsman ignored evidence that he transmitted in his motion for reconsideration last June,  that his signatures on the documents were forged.

Among the documents with forged signatures were letters to the Department of Budget and Management and Yap, and a list of supposed PDAF beneficiaries.

Antonino said he was surprised by the charges against him, saying they were similar to those of Senator Joel Villanueva who was eventually cleared by the National Bureau of Investion and the Department of Justice based on the reason that his signatures were forged.

In his case, Antonino said, the Ombudsman ruled that the should prove his claim of forgery in court. ###

Ex-Talugtug mayor faces falsification charge

The Office of the Ombudsman has upheld the findings of probable cause to charge former Talugtug Mayor Quintino Caspillo, Jr. for falsification of public documents for certifying that he was not related in any way to his nephew whom he appointed as municipal planning and development officer in 1997.

The Ombudsman dismissed Caspillo's motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. It found that he appointed Elmer Caspillo, his nephew, as municipal planning and development officer.

To facilitate the appointment, Caspillo issued a certification that he was not related to the appointee.

The Ombudsman ruled that Caspillo's action was a violation of Section 79 of the Local Government Code that says  “no person shall be appointed in the career service of the local government if he is related within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity to the appointing authority". ###

DTI confers 'Bagwis Gold' to 2 stores in Ecija

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) conferred the "Bagwis Gold" to five stores in Central Luzon, including two in Nueva Ecija.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez gave the recognition to Sanford Marketing Corporation that manages Savemore branches in Talavera and Cabiao in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, and the branches of Abenson Ventures, Inc. and Pandayan Bookshop, Inc. in Tarlac.

Regional Director Judith Angeles said the Bagwis program aims to give recognition to establishments that uphold the rights of consumers and practice responsible business where consumers get value for their money. ###

Shell, Gawad Kalinga to set up Cabiao housing project

Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) -- the social development arm of the power, energy and gas company Shell -- linked up with Gawad Kalinga (GK) for a project that aims to provide decent homes to homeless families in Cabiao

Called Shell-Gawad Kalinga Kalikasan Village, the project will be put up on a 2.3 hectare lot.

The Cabiao housing project is the fourth such project in Nueva Ecija, coinciding with this year's Bayani Challenge with the theme "Barangay Walang Iwanan", GK's three-year effort to revive the spirit of communal unity among the public.

Issa Cuevas Santos of the GK Community Development Foundation, said the new project strengthens the strong partnership between GK, Shell and Cabiao.

Edgar Veron Cruz, PSFI executive director, said that while his group's assistance may be small in scale, the project has a big impact on the lives of individuals who will be given new homes. It will also encourage other institutions to support GK,.

Cabiao Mayor Baby Congco said this fourth year of their Bayani Challenge coincides with the fourth Gawad Kalinga Village in their community.

On behalf of the municipal government, she thanked Shell for helping the town and expressed the belief that they will continue to work together out of love for the country.

Aside from the Cabiao Shell-GK Village, the partnership of Shell and GK has also resulted in four similar housing projects in Batangas, Southern Leyte and Cagayan de Oro City. ###

CLSU develops botanical pesticides

Researchers from Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in the Science City of Muñoz have developed six botanical pesticides that could serve as alternatives to commercial products.

The Department of Science and Technology said the so-called biopesticides were developed under the Biodiversity Industry Strategic Science and Technology Program of the department's Philippine Council of Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.

The CLSU researchers led by Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Albeto of the Institute of Climate Change and Environmental Management developed the biopesticides from plants gathered from forests in Nueva Ecija, Bataan and Aurora.

DOST said the biopesticides need to further study, field testing and patenting before being promoted to farmers.

The biopesticides will be featured at the Super National Science and Technology Week from July 25 to 29. ###

Victory Liner accident kills 5, injures 30

Five persons died and 30 others were inured when a Victory Liner bus rammed a concrete barrier in the curved portion of Maharlika Highway in Sitio Maligaya, Barangay Putlan, Carranglan at about 1:30 A.M. last July 12.

Four of the fatalities died on the spot, while the fifth died on the way to the hospital

Police said the victims were on the bus bound for Caloocan City from Tuguegarao City driven by Ryan Manuel, 38, of Ilagan City, Isabela.

Sr. Insp. Adriano Gabriel, Jr., Carranglan police chief, said their investigation found human error as the cause of the accident. He said the fatalities included a pregnant woman.

A survivor, Ambrocio Albano, said the driver had been reckless. He said some of the passengers had been urging the driver to slow down before the accident happened.

The bus flipped to its side after the driver abruptly stepped on the brake as the bus was traveling downhill.

The driver was detained at the town police station and charged with multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries..

He admitted that the accident was his fault and apologized to the families of the victims.

As a result of the accident, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board suspended 17 units of Victory Liner buses. ###

434 drug pushers, users surrender in Gapan City

A total of 434 suspected illegal drug pushers and users in Gapan City pledged to stop their illegal activities during a covenant signing held at the Nueva Ecija University of  Science and Technology gymnasium in the city hall compound last July 7.

The activity, a part of the police’s anti-illegal drug campaign Oplan Tokhang, was led by City Mayor Emerson Pascual and city police chief, Supt. Peter Madria.

Pascual, in his message, said the the activity of calling persons in the police drug watch list to swear and sign a pledge was a manifestation of the government's respect for life.

This is also the reason, he said, why no suspected pusher has been killed in the city despite the series of gun attacks in adjacent places.

Pascual said he had to plead with the police to first let him talk to the suspects and persuade them to stop, but he said he can only do so much.

He said he shares President Rodrigo Duterte's resolve to fight drugs.

"I will clean this city and the President will clean the country,” he said, giving himself 30 days to rid the city of illegal drugs.

He asked the surrenderees to show appreciation by saving their own lives.

“You do not need to thank us. You do not need to befriend us. Just stop the illegal activities and you have already pay back the importance and respect that we gave to all of you. Just think about yourself, your family and you will surely stop from illegal drugs,” he said.

On the other hand, Madria said they would immediately implement police operation on people in their list who ignored the invitation for the July 7 covenant signing and will continue to validate the activities of those who promised to stop. ###

Vigilantes kill 14 pushers in Ecija

Police blame suspected vigilantes for the deaths of 14 illegal drug pushers in Nueva Ecija since President Rodrigo Dutertre declared his all-out war against criminality and illegal drugs.

Police reported the deaths of two persons last July 6.

Jonathan Erna Atacador, 31, tricycle driver, of Purok 1, Barangy Valle, Cabanatuan City, was found dead at a shoulder of the Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road in Barangay San Isidro.

Another victim, Macario Mamangon Ignacio alias Kayo, 45, of Purok Pag-asa, Barangay Daan Sarile was shot by a motorcycle-riding gunman in Barangay Bitas.

Police said Atacador and Ignacio had been linked to illegal drugs and carnapping.

In Talavera, Supt. Leandro Novilla, police chief, reported that Mirasol Lavapie Ramos, allegedly the Number 1 drug dealer in that town, was shot by gunmen aboard a blue van. Her husband, Jelvin, is detained at the provincial jail for an illegal drug pushing charge.

In Llanera, Sr. Insp. Romeo Gamais, Jr, police chief, said suspected drug pushers Manuel Cena Andres alias Ogie, 47; Melda Valdez Trapalgal, 46; and Alma Panahaon Santos, 47 were shot and killed by alleged vigilantes.

Eight other alleged drug pushers have also been killed in Cabanatuan City, Talavera and Gapan City by unidentified gunmen.  ###

3 bodies found in Cabanatuan, Muñoz

The bodies of three men were discovered in Cabanatuan City and the Science City of Muñoz last July 9.

In Cabanatuan, the bodies of two unidentified men were found along the Emilio Vergara bypass road.. They were both shot in the head with their mouths covered with packaging tape.

Police believe the two were killed elsewhere.

In Muñoz, tricycle driver Guillermo Piliton 46, was found dead and shot in the head along the Lupao-Muñoz Road. ###

Guimba barangay kagawad gunned down

A barangay kagawad suspected of being a big-time drug dealer in Guimba, was shot and killled by vigilantes of the so-called Socilaist Party of the Philippes.

Supt. Rechie Duldulao, Guimba police chief, said the victim, Narciso Villa, 45, of Barangay Bunol, was identified by most of 300 drug users who surrendered recently, as their source of illegal drugs.

Villa, who was in the town's top drug watch list, allegedly refused to join his wife and daughter who surrendered last July 13.

The victim was driving a motorcyucle along the Guimba-Baloc Road when the suspects shot him, killing him on the spot. ###

2 illegal drug suspects killed

Three suspects in illegal drug actuivities were killed in separate places in the province.

In Santo Domingo, Alfed Valdez, Jr., included in the town's drug watch list, was shot dead by motorcycle-riding suspects in his house lazst July 5.

In Cabiao, the body of Jessie Junarez, 37, was found. He wad abducted from his home in San Antonio at 9:00 A.M. that day. He was included in San Antonio's drug watch list. ###

Quezon drug pusher shot dead

A man listed by the Quezon police as Number 5 in its list of top puishers was shot dead while waiting for a client in  Barangay Santa Clara last July 13.

The victim was identified as Alvin Castillo, 29. ###

Cuyapo drug pusher escapes slay try

A woman tagged by the Cuyapo police as the Number 3 pusher in the town, escaped an attack by motorcycle-riding suspects who shot her while driving home aboard her motorcycle.

The victim, Julie Dollente, was wounded in the right thigh but managed to speed away and hide in her house before reporting the attack to the police and surrendering. ###

San Leonardo pusher survives attack

A female pusher survived a gun attack by two men in San Leonardo last July 10.

The victim was identified as  Hementera Flores, 37, of Barangay Diversion. ###

3 suspected pushers arrested in Muñoz

The Muñoz police arrested three alleged drug pushers on board an SUV  that they flagged down in Barangay Bantug last July 14.

Supt. Manuel Hidalgo, city police chief, identified the suspects as Jason Gabriel, 24, of Cabanatuan City; Mark Anthony Reyes, 31, of Aliaga; and Abel Santos, 35 of Talavera.

Found in their possession were 20 sachets of shabu valued at about P20,000. ###

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