No. 230 /  November 16-30, 2009
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The 2010 gubernatorial race
It's final: Oyie vs. Edward

Gov. Aurelio M. Umali and his party mates filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) last November 26 under his newly formed Unang Sigaw (Partido ng Pagbabago) party, in alliance with the administration's LAKAS-KAMPI-CMD.

Speaking before filing his COC, Umali said that the new party stands for respect for the rule of law and order, participatory government, utilization of people power, pursuit of sustainable livelihood opportunities and progress and tranquility.

Umali was accompanied by his wife, Third Dist. Rep. Czarina Umali who is running for re-election; Emmanuel Antonio, her brother-in law who is running for Third District board member; former three term Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members Jose Bernardo Yango and Aurora Aleta; reelectionist board members Eric Salazar, Juanito Juatco and Racquel Agapito; and first time SP candidates Nap Ocampo and Perry Hernandez.

Meanwhile Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson and his running mate, Senior Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Rommel Padilla, filed their certificates of candidacy under the banner of Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (BALANE) last November 29.

With Joson were his wife and daughter, his father Tomas III, mother May, aunt Josie Manuel-Joson, former Vice Governors Mariano Cristino and Eduardo IV, businessman Rey Joson and other BALANE candidates.

In an earlier talk with the media, Joson said that he could have won hands down as a reelectionist vice governor but decided to run for governor because "I could no longer bear seeing Umali win a second and third term in the Capitol to the detriment of Novo Ecijanos". ###

BALANE proclaims Joson-Padilla tandem

The Joson-led Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (BALANE) proclaimed Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson and Sr. Board Member and actor Rommel Padilla as its official candidates for governor and vice governor last November 24.

Joson, in accepting the nomination to be the BALANE standard bearer, said that his decision to run is a fight for Novo Ecijanos who expected to receive support from the incumbent governor but went home frustrated.

“My candidacy is a fight of many Novo Ecijanos who went to the provincial Capitol to seek the help of the incumbent but who were unable to see him because he was inaccessible. It is a fight of Novo Ecijanos who chanced upon him but could not enter the governor's office because of red tape. And it is a fight for the poor and helpless people who brought with them medical receipts for health services but who were sadly turned away,” he said.

Joson said that the fight against Umali is also a campaign against the governor's civil security unit and for the welfare of local government units which failed to get their just share of taxes from the quarrying operations of the provincial government.

The proclamation was attended by former Gov. Tomas N. Joson III, the party's chair emeritus; First Dist. Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson; former Vice Gov.. Mariano Cristino Joson and Eduardo Joson IV; former First Dist. Rep. Josie Manuel-Joson; Fourth Dist. Rep. Rodolfo Antonino; and  board members and municipal mayors. 

Also proclaimed were the party's congressional candidates composed of Josie Manuel-Joson for the First District, Leopoldo Tomas for the Second District, Eduardo “Ding Liit” Joson IV  for the Third District, and incumbent Rep. Rody Antonino for the Fourth District. ###

Grenade blast damages house of election official

A grenade explosion damaged the house of election officer Perfecto Gijapon in Barangay Sinipit, Bongabon town.

Sr. Insp. Armando Santiago, town police chief, said that the blast happened at 9:30 PM while Gijapon, 62, was watching television with his wife and children.  An unidentified motorcycle riding man stopped in front of his house and hurled a hand grenade, destroying a wall and shattering windows.

No one was hurt in the attack.

Investigators are determining if the blast was connected to the May 2010 elections. ###

Ecija election officers reshuffled

A total of 22 election officers in Nueva Ecija were given new assignments.

Lawyer Fernando F. Co-tom, who assumed the post of provincial election supervisor last September 3, said that the affected election officers were those who had been in their posts for over two years.

Among those affected by the reshuffle was Gapan City election officer Belen Rivera who was transferred to the Science City of Muñoz. Her replacement was Leonardo Navarro who used to be the election officer of Guimba.

In Bongabon, election officer Pacifico Gijapon, whose house was targeted in a grenade throwing incident, was reassigned to Zaragosa.

Also reshuffled were the election officers of the cities of Palayan  and Muñoz and the towns of Cuyapo, Guimba, Nampicuan, Quezon, Talavera, Zaragosa, Carranglan, Lupao, Pantabangan, Rizal, Talugtog, Gabaldon, Gen. Natividad, Laur, Santa Rosa, Cabiao, Jaen, Peñaranda, San Antonio, San Isidro and San Leonardo.

Retained in their present posts were the election officers of the cities of Cabanatuan and San Jose and the towns of Llanera, Sto. Domingo, Gen. Tinio, Aliaga and Licab. ###

Ecijanos condemn Maguindanao massacre

Novo Ecijanos, including officials, were one in condemning the politically motivated massacre of some 57 people, including a big number of journalists, in Maguindanao.

Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson, in a radio program over a local station, called on the country's peace and order officials to act fast and bring to justice the perpetrators of the worst election related killings in the country's history.

For his part, former Gov. Tomas N. Joson III said that the two week euphoria over the victory of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and the selection of Efren Peñaflorida as 2009 CNN Hero of the Year was ruined by the Maguindanao incident that tended to tarnish the image of the country before the entire world. ###

Sandiganbayan gives 10 year jail term to ex-Muñoz mayor

The Sandiganbayan Fourth Division found former Science City of Muñoz Mayor Efren Alvarez guilty of graft for awarding a government contract to an unlicensed construction company without public bidding 13 years ago.

The anti-graft court sentenced Alvarez to a 10 year jail term and perpetually disqualified him from holding public office.  He was also ordered to reimburse the city more than P4 million.

The Sandiganbayan observed that the Office of the Ombudsman should have included in the case the entire Sangguniang Panglunsod of Muñoz since "it has conspired if not abetted all the actions of the accused in all his dealings with (the company) to the damage and prejudice of the municipality."

The case arose from the awarding of a P240 million contract to the Australian-Professional Incorporated (API) under the build-operate-transfer scheme for the construction of the Wag-wag Shopping Mall in 1996.

The prosecution said that API did not have a construction license based on records of the Philippine Construction Accreditation Board, nor was there a public bidding for the project.

The Sandiganbayan noted that API did not submit a complete project proposal and the company was in existence for only a little more than three months at that time and had not completed a single project.

In handing down its decision, the court said, "If the general welfare of the municipality and its inhabitants was the priority of the accused, he should not have pushed for the acceptance and approval of the API's proposal and entered into the contract when he knew that it was not qualified and the laws were ignored." ###

NIA supervisor shot dead

An unidentified gunman killed a supervisor of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) while he was inspecting a water control area at a dam site in Barangay Tayabo, San Jose City last November 17.

Supt. Sidney Villaflor, city police chief, identified the victim as Eng. Loreto Almario Cabrera, residing at the NIA Compound in the Science City of Muñoz.

The victim's companion at the time of the incident, Reynaldo Encarnacion Esmilla, 47, NIA gatekeeper and a resident of the dam site, said that Cabrera was conducting an inspection when the suspect on board a motorcycle arrived, pulled out a gun and shot the victim at close range. The suspect then immediately drove away.

Authorities are looking into the motive for the killing. ###

SC reverses ruling on Santa Rosa murder case

The Supreme Court reversed the resolution of former Justice Sec. Simeon Datumanong in 2003 clearing a Nueva Ecija policeman and a barangay chair of complicity in the murder of a Santa Rosa woman.

The decision written by Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta for the Third Division ordered Justice Sec. Agnes Devanadera to direct the City Prosecutor of Manila to prosecute SPO1 Roel D. Acosta and former Barangay Chair Numeriano Sapiandante for murder and withdraw the motion it earlier filed with a Manila court withdrawing the murder charges against the two.

The lower court had suspended the issuance of arrest warrants against the two suspects while awaiting the resolution of a petition filed by the family of the victim criticizing the justice secretary's dismissal of their complaint for insufficiency of evidence.

The victim, Bernadette M. Dimatulac, was watching television inside the church of the Kaibigan Foundation, Inc. in Barangay San Mariano, Santa Rosa on the night of May 4, 2000 when Acosta, armed with a gun, approached her and repeatedly shot her.

Acosta and Sapiandante. who drove the getaway vehicle, were positively identified by witnesses. However, when the case was reviewed by Datumanong, he doubted the testimony of the witnesses resulting in the dismissal of the murder case.

In reversing the justice secretary's dismissal of the case, the Supreme Court said “The matter of assigning value to the declaration of a witness is best done by the trial court which can assess such testimony in the light of the demeanor, conduct and attitude of the witness at the trial stage.” ###

Talavera trader loses P.5 to robber

A woman trader from Talavera lost over half a million pesos to a holdup man in Cabanatuan City last November 18.

Lourdes dela Cruz of Barangay La Torre, Talavera had just withdrawn P537,000 from a Banco de Oro branch in Barangay Dicarma, Cabanatuan City when the suspect poked a knife at her after she boarded a tricycle.

It was the third robbery recorded in the city in three weeks.

Last November 11, the B.L. Pawn Shop and Money Changer in Barangay Supermarket was robbed by three men. Two of the hold uppers and the shop owner, Ben Angayon, were killed.  Another suspect and a shop employee, Jeth Malig, were wounded in a shoot-out.

Earlier, the water district manager of Jaen town and his wife were robbed of P600,000 that they had just withdrawn from Land Bank of the Philippines.

Supt. Efren Ramos, Cabanatuan police chief, called on local traders to immediately inform the police when making huge bank withdrawals. ###

San Leonardo tot drowns at height of Pacquiao-Cotto fight

A four year old boy drowned while his parents were busy watching the Pacquiao-Cotto fight last September 15 in Barangay San Anton, San Leonardo.

It was learned that at about 2:15 PM, while everyone was intensely watching the televised fight, the boy, Jonard Ciriaco Morillo of Purok 4, Barangay San Anton, was playing with a cousin beside the Pampanga River when he slipped and fell into the water.

The cousin shouted for help but this was unnoticed as everyone was busy watching the boxing bout.

By the time help arrived, the victim was nowhere to be found.  A flash alarm for the recovery of the boy's body was sent to adjacent towns along the river. ###


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