plebiscite for Cabanatuan HUC status
set for November 8
The Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) has scheduled for November 8
the province-wide plebiscite for the
ratification of the presidential
proclamation declaring Cabanatuan a
highly urbanized city (HUC).
Cabanatuan City Election
Officer Leonardo Navarro said the
Supreme Court ordered the COMELEC to
hold the plebiscite with the 1,3609,508
registered voters in Nueva Ecija
The HUC plebiscite had been
postponed twice after Gov. Aurelio Umali
questioned in the Supreme Court the
order limiting the political exercise to
Cabanatuan City voters.
The Supreme Court sided with
Umali's claim that other cities and
towns in the province will be affected
by the HUC conversion and should be
allowed to participate in the
"We are not saying the
plebiscite should not be allowed. What
we are saying is who should be allowed
to vote," Umali said.
He said the existing
jurisprudence limiting the plebiscite to
areas to be partitioned is "absurd and
illogical", allowing only the
secessionists to vote for secession and
make a demand against the wishes of the
The Department of Budget and
Management has ruled that there will be
a substantial decrease in the land area
of the province once Cabanatuan turns
into an HUC.
For his part, Mayor Julius
Cesar Vergara said it will be the second
attempt by Cabanatuan to attain HUC
status after city voters turned down the
proposal in 1995 because of strong
He said he retried to revive
the issue after he was re-elected last
year but the COMELEC deferred action on
the matter because of the barangay
Aliaga Mayor Elizabeth Vargas
was unseated by a Cabanatuan City court
last September 22.
Despite Vargas' refusal to
vacate the position, she was replaced by
Reynaldo Ordanes, her rival in the 2013
elections, after a court sheriff served
the order issued by Judge Virgilio
Vargas, a four-term mayor and
wife of former Mayor Marcial Vargas, was
proclaimed winner by the municipal board
of canvassers after beating Ordanes by
Ordanes then filed an election
protest with the court which voided 72
of Vargas' votes last May.
It ruled that three of
Ordanes' votes rejected by the precinct
count optical scan machine were valid,
reducing Vargas' votes to 11,405 while
increasing Ordanes' votes to 11,416.
A writ of execution for the
ouster of Vargas was issued by the court
last June 19, but was withheld last July
15 when the COMELEC issued a temporary
restraining order (TRO) for 60 days.
With the expiration of the TRO last
September 16, the court issued another
order the following day implementing the
writ, saying that Vargas had not shown
any evidence to defend her position.
With Vargas refusing to vacate
the town hall, Ordanes said he will
temporarily hold office in his house.
He appealed to Vargas to step
down and said he will await the
intervention of the Department of the
Interior and Local Government. ###
200,000 Ecijanos may not
be able to vote in 2016
A total of 213,141 registered voters in
Nueva Ecija with incomplete or no
biometric data could lose their right to
vote in the 2016 elections.
Provincial Election Supervisor Panfilo
Doctor, Jr. said the number makes up
about 15 percent of the 1.3 million
voters in the province.
Among the voters with incomplete or no
biometric data, 63,116 are from
Cabanatuan City; 21,541 from San Jose
City; 15,418 from Talavera; 11,188 from
Guimba; and 10,100 from Gapan City.
The mandatory biometric registration of
voters is contained in Republic Act
10367 signed by President in February
jail warden's killer identified
A hired gunman who was killed
in an encounter with policemen in Aliaga
last September 9 has been
identified as the one who shot dead
Provincial Warden Enrico Campos last
Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves,
provincial police director, said Renato
Galang alias Berdugo was identified by
witnesses as the gunman.
Galang was said to be the
leader of a gang of hired killers also
involved in robberies and car thefts. He
was linked to the killing of PO2 Marcos
Lopez and PO2 Rolando Basmayor,
Nieves said jail guard Alfredo
Donato, Sr. and detainees Romeo dela
Cruiz and Leonilo Sarmiento identified
Galang as the killer. The motive was the
jail reforms implemented by the warden.
Nieves said Galang threatened
Donato and the warden when they posted
his photo as the primary suspect in the
killing of PO2 Lopez.
Gov. Aurelio Umali had offered
a P1 million reward for the capture of
Campos' killer and gave police until
September 13 to solve the case.
He said the killings will not
stop with the death of Galang and the
police should dig deeper to find out who
was paying the hired killer.
"May mga dating
pulitiko na may hawak na mga
gun-for-fire. Dapat imbestigahan din,"
Umali said. ###
Police office launches
'Bless Our Cops'
The director of the Nueva
Ecija Police Provincial Office has
launched an advocacy called "Bless Our
Cops" or BOC following controversies
involving scalawag policemen.
Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieve said
BOC aims to enlighten and motivate the
command, group, staff, officers and
personnel on their purpose as model
officers and public servants.
He said the advocacy aims to
bring God to every policeman and help
bring about a God-centered,
service-oriented and family-based
Philippine National Police. ###
has new police chief
Cabanatuan City has a new
police chief -- Supt. Joselito
Villarosa, former head of the Nueva
Ecija Criminal Investigation and
He replaced Supt. Pedro Soliba
who had held the position for one year.
Villarosa is a son of a Makati
City judge. He was deputy executive
officer of the anti-carjacking Task
Force Limbas. He served as police chief
of San Leonardo and Jaen, intelligence
officer of the Central Luzon Police and
chief of the Highway Patrol Group in
Villarosa has a 10-point
agenda aimed at maintaining the status
of the Cabanatuan police station as one
of the country's best. ###
P29.8-M projects in Zaragoza
The Department of Agrarian
Reform and the municipal government of
Zaragoza launched P29.89 million worth
of projects funded by the Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The projects cover a
farm-to-market road in Barangays Santa
Lucia Young and Old, potable water
system in Santa Lucia Old and the repair
of day care centers in all 19 barangays.
The project launching was led
by DAR Regional director Arnel Dizon,
together with Provincial Agrarian Reform
Officer (PARO) 2 Romeo Cordero, PARO 1
Jocelyn Ramones and Mayor Lovella
Belmonte-Espiritu said the
farm-to-market road will enable around
3,700 residents to easily transport
The town spent P2.5 million to
build an elevated water tank for 216
households in Santa Lucia Old and P17
million for four other road projects
spanning 15 kilometers. ###
An alleged notorious drug
pusher from Gapan City was killed during
a running fire fight with operatives
from the Peņaranda police and the Public
Safety Company (PPSC) of the Nueva Ecija
Police Provincial Office in Barangay
Poblacion at around 5:00 p.m. last
Supt. Ricardo Villanueva, PPSC
commander, identified the fatality as
Ronald Balagtas of Purok Riverside,
Barangay San Vicente, Gapan City.
Concerned citizens informed
the police that a certain alias Manok
was selling shabu in Barangay Poblacion,
prompting a team of policemen to launch
an operation to arrest the suspect.
Villanueva said the suspect,
upon seeing the approaching police team,
immediately fled aboard his motorcycle,
firing a gun at the policemen chasing