Volume 16 / No. 17   |   September 15, 2016
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
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4 die, 1 hurt in Laur shooting

Four persons, two of them women, died and one was injured when unidentified men repeatedly shot them with Armalite rifles in Laur last September 3.

The fatalities were identified as Elijo Barbado, 53, married, a Danilo bus driver; Gaudecio Bagalay, 58, married, farmer; Emerencia dela Rosa, 58, married, all of Sitio Baterya, Barangy Bagting, Gabaldon; and Violeta Mercado, 57, married, an OFW, of Baangay Mapalad, Santa. Rosa, Nueva Ecija.

Injured was Angelita Milan, 50, married, farmer of Barangay Calabasa, Gabaldon.

Sr. Supt. Manuel E. Cornel, provincial police director, said the shooting happened in Sitio Minalkot, Barangay San Isidro, Laur at 2:30 P.M.

Investigation showed that the victims were constructing a nipa hut on a farm lot when the suspects appeared from different directions and repeatedly fired at them.

The wounded victims tried to shield themselves under a bamboo bed but the suspects still continued to fire at them.

Cornel said the lone survivor got wounded only in the leg and was able to run away.

The incident was reported to the police by Anastacio Gregorio, 62, of Barangay 1, Laur.

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III vowed justice for the slain farmers.

He said he would request the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the killing to ensure that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.  ###

KMP condemns Laur 'massacre'

The militant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas condemned what it termed as "massacre" of four farmers by alleged armed goons of a Nueva Ecija politician.

Joseph Canlas, KMP chair, said the suspects were allegedly affiliated with Palayan City Mayor Adrienne Mae Cuevas whom he accused of involvement in land grabbing.

“These killings related to land dispute in Fort Magsaysay cause further alarm especially since the victims are ordinary, unarmed farmers who are only exercising their legitimate, democratic rights,” Canlas said.

Part of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation occupied by some 6,000 farmers and other residents was awarded to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program on November 5, 1991. 

Canlas said the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) given to the beneficiaries became useless because they failed to defend the farmers' rights over the lands.

He said the military, particularly the 7th Infantry Division of the Army, has been instrumental in denying Fort Magsaysay farmers of their rights to own the lands by asking for the cancellation of the CLOAs since 2008. ###

Palayan mayor denies role in Laur massacre

Palayan City Mayor Adrienne May Cuevas said the accusations linking her to the killing of four farmers and the wounding of another in Laur were "totally false, baseless and purely a demolition job against me."

In a Facebook post, Cuevas condoled with the families of the victims and appealed to her relatives, friends, fellow public servants and constituents to maintain their sobriety.

She said she expects the demolition job against her would not be the last and called on her followers to continue to support her.

Cuevas' statement was in reaction to the accusation of Joseph Canlas, president of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, linking her to the attack.###

7th ID chief condemns Laur shooting

The commander of the Army's 7th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Angelito de Leon, condemned the killing of four farmers and the wounding of another in Laur.

De Leon denied insinuations that the Army was involved in the shooting, clarifying that the area where the incident happened was no longer part of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation.

The Army division spokesperson, 1st Lt. Catherin Hapin, said the site had been turned over to the Department of Agrarian Reform through Executive Order 448 and the 7ID no longer has jurisdiction over it.

De Leon directed his command to help and coordinate with the Nueva Ecija police in its investigation to identify and arrest the suspects. ###

Mariano: 100 days to complete Ecija land distribution

Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano intends to finish the process of distributing 3,100 hectares of land in Laur and Palayan City, where four people were killed by five unidentified suspects.

Third Dist. Rep Rosanna Vergara said Mariano made the vow during the deliberation on his department's proposed 2017 budget in the House of Representatives.

The area, formerly part of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, is within Vergara's district.

Vergara said Mariano promised her that he would personally monitor the land transfer.that he said would be completed in 100 days.

She praised Mariano for considering land titling as among the priorities of his department. ###

Local party pushes for federalism

A local political party is seeking support for the federal type of government being endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Some 150 former and incumbent local officials affiliated with Unang Sigaw Partido ng Pagbabago led by former Governor Aurelio Umali gathered last September 12 and called for constitutional amendments to start the move towards federalism.

Umali formed the party in 2010 with former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro to encourage Novo Ecijanos to help shape the political, social and economic future of the  province.

During the meeting, 20 mayors, 14 vice mayors, 180 city and town councilors, five board members and six Association of Barangay Captains presidents were sworn in as new party members.

The participants elected new party officials who include Umali as the re-elected chair; Peñaranda Mayor Ferdinand Abesamis, executive vice chair; Mayors Nerivi Martinez (Talavera), Nestor Alvarez (Science City of Muñoz), Ricardo Padilla (Bongabon) and Emerson Pascual (Gapan City) as district vice chairs; Mayor Lovella DG. Belmonte-Espiritu (Zaragoza) as secretary general; and Mayor Librado Santos (General Natividad) as treasurer.

In his speech, Umali said, “Talk is rife that local officials in other provinces are joining PDP-Laban and are supporting the call of Mr. Duterte for federalism and constitutional amendments. We are opening our doors here in Nueva Ecija for such dialogues.” ###

Lack of recognition for Gen. Llanera in own town rued

Cabiao Mayor Ramir Rivera expressed disappointment over the apparent lack of recognition for General  Mariano Llanera in his own hometown.

Rivera said it is puzzling why Llanera, whose 74th death anniversary will be commemorated on September 19, is recognized in other places but does not even have a street in Cabiao named after hm.

“He’s from here but he was not accorded the respect and recognition he rightfully deserved. For example, there was no General Llanera Road. I will find a street and name it after him,” Rivera said.

He said even the school donated by the Llanera family,  Maligaya Elementary School, should have been named after the hero.

Earlier, Rivera announced plans by the municipal government to establish a museum in honor of Llanera.

The plan was confronted by a problem because Llanera's memorabilia such as his sword and boots could no longer be found.

Jose Hipolito, municipal planning and development coordinator and local historian, said many of Llanera's photos are also missing and even hius house and clothes had been sold.

He said a former town official borrowed Llanera's belongings for possible display but these were never returned.

Llanera is recognized in Gapan City where a Masonic lodge was established in 1963 in his honor. A Nueva Ecija town was also named after him.

On September 2, 1896, Llanera, then the capitan municipal or mayor of Cabiao, and General Pantaleon Valmonte, the mayor of Gapan, led Katipuneros in assaulting the Spanish garrison in San Isidro in what would later be known as the "First Cry of Nueva Ecija". ###

WUP receives hoax bomb threat

Classes and office work were temporarily suspended at Wesleyan University-Philippines WUP) in Cabanatuan City in the afternoon of September 14 and the  whole of the following day after a bomb threat was received through texting.

Supt. Ponciano Zafra, Cabanatuan City police chief, said WUP President Pacifico Aniag sought police and military assistance after he received information at 1:00 P.M. from faculty members and students that bomb explosions would take place in the campus the following day.

Zafra formed a composite team from the city and provincial police, Provincial Safety Company, its K-9 unit and the Army's 3rd Infantry Division to search the university campus for hidden bombs.

In its memorandum for class suspension, the university gave as reason the monsoon rains  forecast for September 15 to avoid panic.

The bomb threat proved to be a hoax and classes resumed on September 16. ###

Fort Mag drug rehabilitation center funded by China

President Rodrigo Duterte revealed that China has fulfilled its promise to help the Phlippines build a drug rehabilitation center.

In the President's speech during his visit to Indonesia last September 9, he said the drug rehabilitation center is being built in Fort Magsaysay.

He thanked China for its generosity, explaining that he has yet to build a rehabilittion center because the present budget does not include the treatment and rehabilitation  of 3.7 million drug addicts in the country.

Recently, Health Secretary Pauline Ubial went to China to sign a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a 10,000-bed mega treatment and rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Army spokesperson, Col. Benjamin Hao, said construction of the facility on a 10-hectare lot started last August 28.

He said the project being built by contractors based in Quezon City is led by the Department of Health with the Army's Real Estate Office providing zoning support.###

Shabu chemicals found dumped at TPLEx embankment

Containers of chemicals used in making shabu were found in a road embankment in Barangay Bentigan, Cuyapo.last September 13.

Investigators said among those found were two 2.5-liter glass bottles with liquid content labeled "amino butabe"; two 2.5-liter glass bottles wrapped in black plastic sheet with the colorless liquid labeled "nitroetahe"; one tin can with unlabeled liquid; one 2.5-liter glass bottle with clear liquid; ten 2.5-liter glass bottles, each containing clear liquid with four of them labeled "amino butane" and five labeled 'benzaldehyde'.

The chemicals were discovered by TPLEx patrol personnel at about 2:45 P.M.

Supt. Manuel Cornel, provincial police chief, said the chemicals were turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency regional office for laboratory examination.

Authorities are looking into where the chemicals might have come from and the persons responsible for dumping them. ###

Gapan cop shot dead in illegal drug raid

A policeman from Gapan City was killed in a clash with San Isidro police officers during a buy-bust operation last September 7.

The fatality, PO3 Emmanuel Obille, 42, a member of the Gapan police drug enforcement unit, allegedly fired his gun at the arresting policemen.

Obille, declared absent-without-leave from his Gapan post, was the subject of the operation. ###

Cabanatuan man killed for attacking cops

A man was killed by policemen serving a search warrant along Paulino Street, Barangay Aduas Sur, Cabanatuan City after he allegedly attacked them.

Supt. Ponciano Zafra, city police chief, said six sachets of shabu and drug paraphernalia, a caliber .38 revolver, a caliber .22 rifle and an improvised shotgun were seized at the scene. ###

San Isidro farmer rape suspect gunned down

A 46-year old farmer in San Isidro, who faced a charge for the rape of a 12-year old girl, was shot and killed last September 3 by men riding a motorcycle in tandem.

The victim, Narciso Lopez, Jr., was playing cards with neighbors at a vacant lot at Pilar Subdivision when he was repeatedly fired at.

Lopez, included in the town's drug watch list, was on bail for the rape charge being heard at Regional Trial Court Brach 34 in Gapan..###

Aliaga school robbery suspect shot dead

A man suspected of involvement in a series of robberies in public elementary schools in Aliaga was killed by two men riding a motorcycle in tandem.

The victim was identified as Ricky Feliciano alias Toriok, 38, single, of Calle Badoy, Barangay Santo Toms.

He was riding a tricycle driven by Sonny Bayan, refilling at a Caltex gas station, when the two suspects appeared and shot him several times. 

The victim ran to seek cover at the gas station's convenience store but one suspect followed him and shot him to death.

Police said the victim was a principal suspect in the series of theft and robberies victimizing elementary schools in the town.

He also had two robbery cases pending with the Provincial Prosecutor's Office. ###

Muñoz teen abducted

A 13 year old female high school student was abducted by unidentified men in the Science City of Muñoz last September 13.

Sr. Supt. Manuel Cornel, provincial police director, said the suspect was Yssa Sultan of Barangay Poblacion North, a student of Muñoz National High School.

She was reported missing after allegedly being abducted by the suspects in a white van with unknown plate number, along Tobias Street, Barangay Poblacion East at 11:30 A..M. ###

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