No. 300 / October 16-31,  2012

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COMELEC: All ready for Cabanatuan
HUC plebiscite

Despite the temporary restraining order issued by the regional trial court on the holding of the plebiscite for the highly urbanized city (HUC) status of Cabanatuan City, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) says everything is ready for the political exercise set for December 1.

Lawyer Michael Camangeg, city election officer, said some 600 security forces from the police and the military will be deployed in the city, with permits to carry firearms outside residence suspended starting November 5, the start of the plebiscite period.

He said his office already has a list of teachers from the Department of Education who will serve in the plebiscite.

He said the city government has deposited P11,065,700 to the COMELEC main office as part of the P20,071,700 budget for the plebiscite.

Gov. Aurelio M.Umali had filed a temporary r estraining order saying that the entire province would be affected by the upgrading of Cabanatuan to HUC status and petitioning to allow the registered voters in the 27 towns and four other cities of the province to participate in the plebiscite.

He cited a Supreme Court decision on the creation of Negros del Norte and the case filed by Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares on the HUC status of Antipolo City which asked that qualified voters in the entire province be allowed to vote.

Cabanatuan Vice Mayor Marius A.Garcia said it is their position that the plebiscite be limited only to the qualified voters of the city as contained in Section 453 of the Local Government Code of 1991.

The COMELEC, in an en banc meeting last Octob er 16, denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the HUC oppositors and issued Resolution No. 12-096 setting the plebiscite to December 1.###

DILG cites top performing Ecija LGUs

Nueva Ecila local government units were among those awarded by Sec. Manuel Roxas II of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as top performing local government units in Central Luzon.

For excellence in the Local Governance Performance Management Systems (LGPMS), Roxas gave awards in administrative governance to Cabanatuan City, San Felipe town in Zambales and Angeles City; for social governance to Cabanatuan City, Tarlac province, Camiling, Tarlac and Angeles City; and for economic governance to Dipaculao in Aurora, Bulacan province and Palayan City.

The awards had been decided upon before the death of  former Sec. Jesse Robredo last August. He involved civil society groups in validating the LGPMS -- an online self-assessment tool that enables provincial, city and municipal governments to determine their capabilities and limitations in the delivery of basic services.

Roxas also awarded the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) to the provincial governments of Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales, and the highly urbanized cities of Angeles and Olongapo.

The SGH is given to local government units that have excelled in pla nning, budgeting, revenue mobilization, financial management and budget execution, and procurement and resource mobilization. ###

Umalis defended vs. political dynasty issue

Talavera Vice Mayor Vince de Leon defended the Umali family from accusations of being a political dynasty, saying the issue is not a question of the family's political power but of the people who voted for them.

De Leon said political dynasties such as that of the Umalis would not survive without mandate from the people.

“The political dynasties will not be there without the support of the people, the electorate. What if they are liked by the people? As they say, the voice of the people is the voice of God,” de Leon said.

He said the people should not look at political dynasties on their face value but on the capacity of a particular candidate to lead, including educational background.

Citing the Umali family as example, he said they were established professionals before joining politics.

“Governor Umali is a lawyer, a former deputy commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission. His wife, Congresswoman Cherry also has a solid background and has performed well in the House of Representatives. The same thing goes with the governor’s brother, Board Member Doc Anthony (Emmanuel Antonio) who is an eye doctor. Clearly, these people were voted into office because of their educational qualifications and abilities,” de Leon said. ###

Aliaga SP members question 'missing' P10-M aid from
Sen. Santiago

Seven councilors of Aliaga are questioning where a P10 million aid from Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago went, but Mayor Marcial Vargas and his wife, Vice Mayor Elizabeth Vargas, could not account for the amount.

In a resolution signed last October 15, Sangguniang Bayan Members Cesar Cajucom, Juanita de Leon, Juanito Martin, Alberto Bumanlag, Lourdes Celestino, Alnario Bernabe and Melody Vegiga said Santiago gave the amount to start the Farmers Business Resource Cooperative which up to now has not been formed, with the land for the project still not bought.

The councilors expressed apprehension that the land bought for the use of the cooperative had already been transferred to the name of the vice mayor.

They called on the Commission on Audit to intervene to determine the unliquidated expenses incurred by the Vargas couple for the purchase of vehicles, gasoline, equipment and other items allegedly done with haste.

The same councilors have filed criminal and administrative charges against the Vargas couple with the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of the Interior and Local Government for their alleged failure to implement the higher salary grade for employees befitting a First Class municipality as ordered by the  Department of Budget and Management. ###


The National Electrification Administration (NEA) said the Nueva Ecija II-Area 1 Electric Cooperative (NEECO II-Area 1)  has been transformed from being a delinquent payer to a paying cooperative.

NEA said it received NEECO II-Area 1's advance payment for its P50 million restructured loan last month.

The total  loan amounts to P184.614 million granted in September 2004 and payable in 15 years at 12 percent interest.

“If the co-op continues to pay based on the existing Equal Quarterly Amortization, the repayment period will be shortened to 2016 instead of 2019 and P44 million will be generated as savings on interest on loans with NEA,” it added.

NEA said the cooperative is up-to-date in its power account payment with its generating company, San Miguel Energy Corp., with which it has a contract until 2013.

Edita Bueno, NEA administrator, said her agency has given citations to NEECO II-Area 1 for two consecutive years for its financial performance and paying the highest amortization payment to NEA.

She said Neeco II-Area 1 has consistently improved its categorization status from E in 1997-2003, to D in 2004, C in 2005, B in 2006, A in 2007 to A+ in 2009. It has since sustained this status.

The categorization criteria include sitio energization, amortization payment, system loss, collection efficiency, payment to power supplies and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, non-power cost and the result of financial operation.

NEECO II-Area 1 is based in Talavera and covers 10 towns in Nueva Ecija. ###

DA gives free certified seeds to Jaen farmers

The Department of Agriculture (DA) distributed free certified seeds to more than 2,000 farmers in Jaen who adopted the "early wet cropping program" being implemented by the National Irrigation Administration this year.

Venancio Galang, municipal agriculturist, said some 3,419 bags of palay seeds were distributed to 2,492 farmer-beneficiaries who had harvested their second crops last September.

Each bag costs P1,200 and is enough to cover an hectare.

He said this will be the first time that Jaen farmers will be able to produce three times a year, with NIA assuring enough irrigation water.

Mayor Santiago Austria praised the national government, particularly the DA, for the program that will help uplift the lives of his town mates. ##

Mild quake shakes Ecija

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) said a mild tectonic earthquake struck Nueva Ecija late at night last Octrober 21.

The magnitude 3.88 quake struck at 11:33 P.M. with its epicenter just one kilometer southeast of San Jose City, at a depth of 8 kilometers.

The tremor was felt at Intensity 2 in Bag uio City and Palayan City, and Intensity 1 in Quezon City.

No damages were reported. ###

Group of parents, students wants ZNHS principal  ousted

A group of parents and students are seeking the removal from office of the principal of Zaragoza National High School for alleged gay bashing and misuse of government resources.

Charito Pili, spokesperson of the Federated Parent-Teachers Association, said they would hold protest actions until Nila Mactal, the school principal for the past seven months, is ousted.

The group has held two demonstrations in front of the school in Barangay San Rafael.

Pili said that the principal had been detailed to at least five schools in different towns but protests by some parents and students over her management style resulted in her transfer.

A 17 year old student said she and other gay students were attacked by Mactal in one school program where she allegedly told them not to wear polo shirts and pants because they have female genitals. She also bashed gays in female uniforms by saying a similar

Cirilo Bala, Jr., head of the school's social sciences department, denied the charges against Mactal. He said he never heard the principal utter demeaning words.

Ang sinasabi lang niya, nire-remind niya yung mga sabihin na nating third sex ay pinapaalalahanan lang na maging maayos din,” he said.

The protesting group also alleged in unsigned statements that Mactal had been using the school van and driver to go to Clark in Angeles City to buy groceries, and to go to school from home and back.

Pili said they filed a petition with the Division Office but no action has been taken.

"Kahit makarating kami sa national office, gagawin namin,” she said.

Bala, on the other hand, expressed the belief that the actions against the principal is a result of her strict implementation of rules in the school.

May nasasagasaan kapag may ipinapatupad na tuntunin at ‘yun ang dahilan sa iba para gawin nila ‘yun (protest),” Bala said. ###

Ecija records 2nd highest crime rate in CL

Nueva Ecija registered the second highest number of crimes among Central Luzon provinces from January to September this year.

The regional police office at Camp Olivas reported that a total of  2,057 crimes were recorded in Nueva Ecija during that period.

Topping the list was Bulacan with 7,352 cases. The other provinces and their crime incidents were Pampanga, 1,871; Angeles City, 1,446; Tarlac, 1,354; Zambales, 1,071; Bataan, 1,016; Olongapo City, 846; and Aurora, 448.

Supt. Eden Ugale, regional police operations and plans division head , said that compared to last year, the crime rate this year decreased by 40.88 percent.

The number of crimes recorded in the region during the first nine months of this year totaled 17,461 compared to 29,535 within the same period last year.

Over 9,000 of the incidents were index crimes including theft, physical injuries, robbery, carnapping, rape, murder and homicide.

Ugale attributed the improved crime situation in the region to the intensified police visibility in the streets and the concerted efforts against robbers riding motorcycles in tandem and carnappers through massive simultaneous checkpoint operations.

He also mentioned that the "Wanted Ka, Huli Ka!" website resulted in the arrest of 3,077 notorious police characters since it was launched in 2011. ###

Fire destroys San Jose City market

A fire razed the public market of San Jose City on the night of October 18.

Initial reports said no one was injured in the fire that started at past 10:00 P.M. and reached the fifth alarm before being placed under control at 12:08 P.M.

Initial investigation showed that the fire started at the dry goods section and quickly spread to other parts of the market. ###

Woman arrested for fake annulment documents

A woman was arrested during an entrapment operation by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Team (CIDT) of the Nueva Ecija police for allegedly duping her victims with fake marriage annulment documents.

Chief Insp. Julius Caesar Mana identified the suspect as Elsiemarie Tan of Cabanatuan City.

She was arrested last October 15 by undercover CIDT operatives after she asked for additional P10,000 from one of her victims.

Mana said that the suspect made it appear that she could facilitate the release of the marriage certificate and annulment documents of her clients with the National Statistics Office and asked for money from them.

A victim, Emma dela Cruz, told the police that the supposed annulment of her marriage to a Japanese national turned out to be fake. When the suspect asked for more money, the CIDT arranged an entrapment.

Assistant City Prosecutor Rodrigo Santos filed the information for the criminal complaint of estafa against Tan, with a recommended bail of P10,000. ###

4 nabbed in drive vs. loose firearms

Four persons were arrested in connection with "Oplan Kontra-Boga'', the anti-illegal gun drive of the Nueva Ecija Provincial Safety Company (PPSC).

The operation is aimed at unregistered and unlicensed firearms owned by threat groups, criminals and civilians, and those with expired or unrenewed licenses.

Nabbed were June Mendoza, 33, driver, of Sapang Kubo, Barangay. Soledad, Santa. Rosa; Felix de Vera, 45, of Barangay Tagpos, also of Santa Rosa; Edmund dela Vega, 51, foam seller, of AGL Subdivision, Caalibangbangan, Cabanatuan City; and Roberto Mauro, 52, duck raiser, of Barangay Soledad, Sta. Rosa.

Supt. Ricardo E. Villanueva, PPSC commander, said Mendoza and De Vera were stopped while riding a motorcycle in tandem in Santa Rosa. They evaded the police checkpoint and were eventually cornered by pursuing lawmen. Seized from them was a caliber .38 revolver with bullets.

In Barangay Cruz Roja, Cabanatuan City , PPSC operatives nabbed Dela Vega for possession of a caliber .45 pistol while driving a Honda Wave motorcycle with an unidentified back rider.

In Plaridel, Llanera, Mauro was arrested based on a tip from a concerned citizen after exiting the 3M Videoke Bar. He yielded a caliber .45 pistol with magazine loaded with nine bullets.

Sr. Supt. Walter E. Castillejos, provincial police director, said t he drive is being intensified to help stop the proliferation of loose firearms, especially in the light of the coming elections in 2013. ###

San Jose barangay chair gunned down

A barangay chair in San Jose City was shot dead in front of the barangay hall by a man wearing a ski mask.

Supt. Pedro Soliba, city police chief, identified the victim as Quirico de Asis, 48, of Cadhit Street, Barangay Canuto Ramos.

The victim was sitting in a monobloc chair and reading a newspaper when the supect arrived on a blue motorcycle with no license plates, got off and fired three times at point blank range.

The suspect then sped towards Santa Romana Street, Barangay Abar 1st.

The victim, with three gunshot wounds in the abdomen and left shoulder but still conscious, was rushed to the local Sacred Heart of Jesus Hospital. He was later transferred to Premier General Hospital in Cabanatuan City where he died

Investigators are looking into politics, the victim's money lending business and personal affairs as motive for the killing.

It was learned that the victim had an altercation with a tricycle driver over parking in front of the Constancio Padilla National High School during a parade earlier that morning. ###

Tricycle driver shot dead

A 31 year old tricycle driver died when he was shot by an unidentified man in Purok 4, Barangay Pambuan, Gapan City last October 18.

The victim was identified as Rodelio P. Velasquez, married, of Barangay Castellano, San Leonardo.

Investigation showed that the victim was driving his tricycle on his way home when shot at the back of his head, causing him to lose control of the vehicle which fell into a rice field. ###

2 carjackers arrested in Lupao

Two suspected carjackers alleged linked to the notorious Dominguez carnapping group were arrested in Lupao last October 19 after driving away a white Mitsubishi Lancer car that they pretended to be interested in buying.

Sr. Supt. Walter Castillejos, provincial police director, identified the two as Jayson Mendez, 37, of Barangay Minabuyok, Talavera and Ronald Bautista, 24, of Poblacion 2, Marilao, Bulacan.

They were arrested by members of the Llanera police and the 3rd Maneuver Platoon of the Provincial Public Safety Company after a brief chase in Barangay General Ricarte, Llanera.

Sr. Insp. Florentino Cuevas, Jr., Llanera police chief, said the two were aboard the stolen car when first seen by authorities in Barangay Mataas na Kahoy at 4:10 P.M.

The authorities were alerted by a flash alarm to all police units in the province regarding a carnapped 1993 model white Mitsubishi Lancer owned by Mark Allen Casta, 23, caretaker of RJC Vulcanizing/Car Wash in Barangay Tienzo, Lupao.

Casta said he was originally selling the car for P140,00 but agreed to close the deal with Mendez for P138,000. The suspect suddenly grabbed the car key and sped away together with Bautista.

He said he tried to chase the car with his motorcycle but the suspects were already gone.

He said the suspects pretended to be owners of Dreamworkz cell phone shop in San Jose City and were supposed to sell the car in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya.

Interrogated by the police, the suspects said they were being used as drivers by the Dominguez group. ###

Criminal gang leader killed in Llanera

A suspected leader of a robbery and gun-for-hire gang was shot dead by unidentified men while driving a tricycle with his eight year old son last October 23.

The victim was identified as Randy Lagamon, 44, of Barangay Agupalo Este, Lalanera.

His son was unharmed.

Lagamon was said to be the leader of the "Carnate Group" involved in robbery-hold up and gun-for-hire activities in the province's Second Congressional District and Pangasinan.

Sr. Insp. Florentino Cuevas, Jr., Llanera police chief, said the shooting happened in Purok 5, Barangay San Antonio Este at about 9:30 A.M.

The three suspects, two of them armed with Armalite rifles, were aboard a multi-cab without license plates. When they managed to catch up with Lagamon's trcycle, they fired, killing him on the spot.

Cuevas said they have yet to identify the suspects and ascertain the motive for the killing. ###

Ex-taxman held for drugs

A former employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue office in Cabanatuan City was arrested by members of the Anti-Narcotics Unit of the Santo Domingo police for possession of illegal drugs in a sting operation last October 18.

Chief Insp. Eric de Venancio, town police chief, identified the suspect as Patric Puntil, 44, of 178 Palma St., Barangay Malaya. He is number one in the police illegal drug watch list.

The authorities raided Puntil's house armed with a search warrant at about 7:00 A.M. Seized from the suspect were 13 plastic sachets of suspected shabu with an estimated market value of P16,250 and P11,000 in cash in various denominations. ###

2 Santo Domingo tanods nabbed for mauling teen

Two barangay tanods in Santo Domingo were held for allegedly beating up a 17 year old man who was creating trouble.

Sr. Supt. Walter Castillejos, provincial police chief, identified those arrested as Isagani Palma and Joel Alejo, both of Barangay Malaya.

They were arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes of Regional Trial Court Branch 88 in Baloc after a complaint for physical injury was filed by the victim, Richard Revudad.

The suspects, unable to pay the P60,00 0 bail, were detained in the town jail. ###

Couple arrested for drugging, raping maid

The Santo Domingo police arrested a 67 year old man and his 30 year old live in partner for allegedly drugging their 15 year old housemaid and forcing her to have sex with the man on several instances.

Those arrested were Eduardo de Guzman and Michelle Dumo, reportedly an aunt of the victim, both of Barangay Baloc.

They were nabbed based on a warrant issued by Judge Anarica Castillo-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court Branch 88.

Chief Insp. Eric de Venancio, town police chief, said the complainant, of Barangay Bacal 3, Talavera, said she would be drugged first by her aunt before being raped by her lover.

The suspects were detained at the police station. ###

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