Volume14 / No. 21                                                                                                      November 15, 2014
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Cabanatuan HUC plebiscite postponed -- again

For the third time, the plebiscite for the conversion of Cabanatuan into a highly urbanized city (HUC) has been postponed.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) approved the recommendation of Deputy Director for Operations Bartolome Sinocruz, Jr. to reset the plebiscite, originally scheduled for November 8, to a later date "upon receipt of the certificate of availability of funds from LGU-Cabanatuan City".

Sinocruz said that when the COMELEC set the plebiscite for November 8, Cabanatuan City Treasurer Florida Oca informed the commission that they city could not provide yet the required certificate of availability of funds.

The plebiscite, which would have involved all Nueva Ecija voters, would cost P101 million, P47.562 million of which must be remitted to COMELEC.

The HUC plebiscite last November 8 would have been the second.

In 1998, President Fidel Ramos proclaimed Cabanatuan as an HUC but this was rejected by voters.

In 2012, President Benigno Aquino III issued another HUC proclamation but the plebiscite was suspended twice -- a COMELEC postponement due to the 2013 elections and another postponement due to a temporary restraining order filed by Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio M. Umali who wanted the participation of all voters in the province. ###

Ombudsman unseats Mayor Uera

The Ombudsman ordered the removal from office of Pantabangan Mayor Lucio Uera for having terminated in 2005 the employment of 430 municipal personnel suspected of supporting his political rival.

In an order released last November 3, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales denied Uera's motion for reconsideration of a resolution finding the mayor guilty of grave misconduct and abuse of authority.

The order said the charges against Uera "warrant dismissal from the service, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from government service".

The affected municipal employees claimed that they were prevented from entering the municipal hall and their time cards and personal belongings confiscated.

They reported instead to the Sangguniang Bayan building where Uera's rival, Romeo Borja, Sr., was holding office after he was proclaimed winner after an election protest.

When Uera was reinstated as the winning mayor after three weeks, he locked out the employees and terminated their employment because of their alleged unauthorized absences.

The Ombudsman said Uera acted with clear bad faith in suspending and then terminating the services of the employees who suffered undue injury because of the mayor's unlawful acts.

In denying Uera's motion for reconsideration, the Ombudsman said the mayor merely reiterated his past arguments that had been exhaustively discussed in a previous resolution. ###

Purisima inaugurates Muñoz police station

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima led the inauguration of the P13 million new police station of the Science City of Muñoz last November 11.

Purisima praised the partnership of the police and the local government led by City Mayor Nestor Alvrez.

He said the city deserved the best service to protect the community and a significant step towards this was takent through the new police station.

He said the city government provided a 1,000-square-meter lot and P5 million as its counterpart contribution while the PNP shouldered P8.3 million of the cost.

Alvarez, for his part, vowed further cooperation with the PNP and the civilian community that volunteers as force multiplier.

Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, said the new police station assures better service to people who seek help from the police.

Purisima was accompanied by Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, regional police director.

The PNP chief distributed  pistols to the Muñoz policemen after the inauguration rites. ###

Cemetery vegetable gardens kick off Talavera organic farming project

Talavera teems with vegetable gardens in barangay hall compounds, road shoulders, school yards and backyards as the town implements its biggest nutrition program based on organic vegetable farming that started on vacant lots in a public cemetery in Barangay Poblacion.

Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez said they discovered their soil is fertile enough to produce quality vegetables like string beans, eggplants, tomatoes and papaya.

The mayor shows off to visitors a corner of the Himlayan ng Bayan public cemetery that serves as a demonstration farm and even prepares lunch for them out of the fresh produce.

Martinez said the municipal government launched the  program to instill in the people, including the youth, the value of using resources and health.

“You cannot do anything if you are not healthy. So we should prioritize our people’s health and all others will follow,” she said.

Barangay Chair Dante Al Fernandez of Bulac said no resident has gone hungry because anyone can harvest vegetables from backyards or public gardens planted to eggplants, okra tomato, bottle gourd, patola, onion, string beans and malunggay.

He said the excess vegetables are sold by residents so they could use the money for their other needs.

In San Pascual, Barangay Chair Gerald Fermin said an 800-square-meter vacant lot has become a steady source of food for victims of recent typhoons who have been living in the local gymnasium.

Even the Talavera campus of the Nueva Ecija University of  Science and Technology teems with vegetables. ###

Fake CIDG, NBI agents  arrested

Two men who passed themselves off as agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) were arrested in Barangay Bantug, Talavera last November 6.

Charged with extortion and usurpation of authority were Raymundo Reyes Lacanilao alias Magdalo, 63, of Barangay Esguerra, and Emerson Santos Grospe, 38, of Barangay Pinagpanaan, Talavera.

Earlier, Reynaldo Marquez Fajardo, 54, a carnival operator, of Barangay Liwayway, Santa Rosa sought the help of CIDG regarding the suspects' extortion activities.

The suspects were arrested in an entrapment operation by Insp. Kim Dominic Gamboa, SPO2 Rolando Bondoc, PO3 Randy Bulan, PO3 Ricardo Galang and PO3 Cecilio Domingo, Jr.

The two yielded four fake CIDG and NBI identification cards, a car with a CIDG commemorative plate, a T-shirt with CIDG marking, a black wallet with an NBI badge, bull cap with a CIDG patch, a blue book containing a list of collections from extortion activities since May and a copy of a warrant of arrest. ###

Motorcycle-riding ma shot dead by thieves

A 37 year old mother who was driving a motorcycle to pick up up her son at Central Luzon State University (CLSU) was shot dead by gunmen who forcibly took her vehicle along Maharlika Highway in the Science City of Muñoz on the night of November 14.

Police identified the victim as Irene Mendoza of Zone 4, Barangay Licaong, a younger sister of Barangay Chair Alfredo S. Bal-ot.

She was declared dead on arrival at Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City.

The victim was on her way to CLSU at about 10:45 P.M. when her path was blocked by three armed men at the university's second gate in Barangay Bantug.

The suspects tried to seize the motorcycle from Mendoza, firing at her when she resisted.

The suspects fled in the direction of San Jose City with the stolen motorcycle. ###

Dismissed SAF member found dead

A dismissed member of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force was found dead with a bullet wound in the head in Barangay Manacsac, Guimba last November 15.

The victim was identified as Jonathan de Guzman alias Spider, 42, of the same barangay.

He was dismissed from the service on February 17, 2006.

His body was found at about 7:00 A.M. at an irrigation canal access road in Sitio Dalaydayan by barangay tanod Richard Doro.

Recovered from the scene was a caliber .45 shell. ###

Carranglan woman stabbed dead by lover

A 41 year old woman was stabbed eight times by her 32-year-old lover during altercation in Sitio Loyloy, Barangay Joson, Carranglan on the night of November 3.

The victim was identified as Liza Curimatmat Anudan.

The suspect was her live-in partner Ireneo Tamang Dalit, single, of Roxas, Isabela.

Police learned about the stabbing the following day when Larry Orpilla of Barangay  Caloocan, San Jose City reported that Dalit told him of the killing.

A subsequent police operation resulted in the arrest of the suspect and the recovery of the knife used in the killing. ###

Talugtog widow killed, robbed by farm helper

A 75-year-old widow was killed and robbed by her farm helper in Barangay Fronda, Talugtog last November 8.

A report received by the office of Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, identified the victim as Remedios Cabrera, 75.

The suspect, Jay-Ar Trinidad Caridad, 30, single and a native of Iloilo, was arrested in Sitio Macatcatuit, Barangay Saverona while he was about to escape.

Investigation by PO2 Oscar Estrel, Jr. showed that at about 8:00 P.M. Cabrera confronted Caridad about her missing money. The two had a heated argument that drove the suspect to stab the victim twice in the chest with a bread knife.

The suspect took away the victim's P100,000 cash before escaping. ###

Tricycle driver dies in Santa Rosa road rage

A tricycle driver was shot dead last October 31 by a motorcycle-riding suspect after the two sideswiped each other along the Santa Rosa-Tarlac Road in Barangay Rajal Sur, Santa Rosa.

The victim, Nelson Lagat jutierrez, 54, of Barangay San Pablo Bata, Aliaga, died on the spot after being repeatedly fired at by the unidentified suspect who escaped after the shooting.

The victim was on his way home at about 7:30 P.M. when the incident happened. ###

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