tragic ending to 2009
die in Muñoz firecracker stall blast
courtesy of ABS-CBN TV Patrol
Two person died when about
25 stalls selling firecrackers in front of the city hall of the Science
City of Muñoz caught fire after an
accidental explosion at about 5:10 PM last December 31.
Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez,
Nueva Ecija police director, identified the fatalities as Diosdado Santos,
50, and Angelito Nuque, 50, both of Barangay Poblacion West.
Santos, a polio victim, died
of suffocation. Nuque died at the Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research
and Medical Center in Cabanauan City while undergoing treatment for third-degree
Nine other persons were injured
in the blast which also damaged several vehicles parked nearby.
Marquez said that the .explosion
happened at stall No. 21 along Tobias St. It was preceded by a whistling
Supt. Fernando Galang, city
police chief, said that a team from the Provincial Special Reaction Team
was inspecting the area when incident happened.
One report said that a lighted
cigarette was thrown near the firecracker stalls which might have set off
the firecrackers. Another report said that a boy lit a firecracker near
It took 15 minutes before
firefighters from Muñoz, San Jose City
and Talavera could put out the blaze. ###
girl recorded as first X'mas/New Year gunshot casualty
A 10 year old girl from Nueva
Ecija sustained a gunshot wound in the right side while playing in their
backyard at 12:33 PM last December 22.
Hers was the first case recorded
by the Department of Health (DOH) in its monitoring of firecracker and
firearm related injuries during the Christmas and New Year celebration.
The victim was treated at
the Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan
The health department could
not say if the stray bullet that hit the girl was fired as part of merry-making.
The DOH said that nine other
persons, half of them children below 10 years old, have been injured so
far by firecrackers. The cases were reported by 50 sentinel hospitals nationwide
as of December 23. Among the injured were a one year old baby boy
and a six year old boy. ###
PNP gets 6,000 volunteers to help maintain peace
The Nueva Ecija police has
recruited 6,000 community based volunteers to help maintain peace and order
in the province.
Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez,
provincial police director, said that the volunteers compose the barangay
peacekeeping action teams (BPAT) to help the police in preventing crimes,
maintaining peace and order and gathering intelligence.
He said that the volunteers
have been trained in the resolution of conflicts at the barangay level
and in crisis management specifically during calamities and disasters.
“They will not be allowed
to carry firearms. They will be closely supervised and their activities
monitored,” Marquez said, allaying fears that the volunteers could become
private armies or beholden to civilian officials or politicians as what
had happened in Maguindanao.
During the mass oath taking
of the BPAT members at the Nueva Ecija Sports Complex in Palayan City last
December 17, Gov. Aurelio Umali said that the project would boost
the campaign to improve the peace and order situation in the province
The mobilization of the volunteers
came in the wake of pronouncements by officials identifying Nueva Ecija
as an area of concern in the May 2010 elections. ###
favors early voting in 7 hot spots
The Nueva Ecija police chief
favors the holding of advanced voting in two cities and five towns classified
as hot spots to ensure peaceful elections in those areas.
Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez,
provincial police director, said he favors the holding of early voting
in the election watch list areas or EWAS where peace and order are a problem
because of intense political rivalries and past cases of election violence.
He identified those areas
as Bongabon, Guimba, Quezon, San Antonio, Jaen, Gapan City and the Science
City of Muñoz.
Bongabon was included in
the watch list because of recent incidents of grenade throwing.
In Gapan, violence was recorded
when a brother of outgoing Mayor Ernesto L. Natividad reportedly choked
an election officer whom he accused of being biased in favor of Vice Mayor
Christian Tinio who is running for mayor against Natividad's wife, Juanita.
In Jaen, there is intense
rivalry between re-electionist 4th Dist. Rep. Rodolfo Antonino and former
Jaen Mayor Antonio Prospero Esquivel. In April 2007, a shoot-out resulted
in the death of four persons and the wounding of 17 others, including two
sons of Esquivel.
Marquez clarified that there
are only seven EWAS in the province and not 21 as earlier reported.
He said that the other areas were included in the initial report based
on situations there in the 2004 and 2007 elections, but these may no longer
hold true in 2010.
He mentioned the case of
Lupao where the newly elected mayor, Alfredo Vendivil, and vice mayor,
his cousin Virgilio Vendivil, were shot dead in a cockpit arena in San
Jose City in June 2007. He said that the political atmosphere in
Lupao has changed since then. ###
Joson gird for battle royale
Governor Aurelio M. Umali
and Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson are preparing for the big battle for
political supremacy between the two most prominent political clans in Nueva
Umali, official standard
bearer of the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD, will try to lead to
victory local candidates running under his newly formed Unang Sigaw, Partido
ng Pagbabago party.
Joson, on the other hand,
is spearheading the fight of the Josons under their own Bagong Lakas ng
Nueva Ecija (BALANE) party.
The two young candidates
- Umali is 43, Joson 33 -- have been battling each other for the
past three years and have filed a total of 10 suits and counter suits for
graft and corruption against each other at the Sandiganbayan.
Umali has repeatedly accused
Joson of leading the oppositon-dominated Sangguniang Panglalawigan in sabotaging
his administration by preventing the passage of ordinances for the development
of Nueva Ecija. He said that in the past two years, several items in his
proposed budgets had been slashed by Joson and his allies in the provincial
Joson, for his part, defended
his actions by saying that these were meant to protect the interest of
the province. He said that Umali's funding requests had legal infirmities.
He also claimed that Umali had prevented the chiefs of offices at the Capitol
from submitting official reports to the provincial board.
In 2010, four other Josons
aside from the vice governor are running for various posts.
Eduardo Joson IV is running
for the Third District congressional seat while his sister-in-law, former
First Dist. Rep. Josefina Manuel-Joson will try to reclaim her former position.
Her husband, Mariano Cristino Joson will run for mayor in Quezon while
Rey Joson, son of Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson, is running for board member
in the Third District.
Eduardo Nonato and former
Gov. Tomas Joson III are not running but vowed to help their party in achieving
victory in 2010.
Over at the Umali camp,
Third Dist. Rep. Czarina Umali, the governor's wife, is running for reelection,
while Emmanuel Antonio Umali, the governor's brother, is seeking a seat
in the provincial board. ###
expects to win over Padilla
Businessman Gay [pronounced
"Jay"] Padiernos from Gapan City, running mate of Gov. Aurelio Umali in
the 2010 elections, said that he expects to win over his opponent,
Sr. Board Member Rommel Padilla, despite the latter's popularity.
"This is not about popularity.
This is about competence and the ability to make a difference in the lives
of majority of Novo Ecijanos,” Padiernos said.
He stressed that he is determined
to win over Padilla based on competence and platform.
“I am offering my services
to the electorate because I firmly believe I can deliver the basic services
Novo Ecijanos need, of course in partnership with my good friend, Gov.
Umali, minus the in-fighting in the Sangguniang Panglalawigan,” Padiernos
He explained that the provincial
government under the leadership of Umali can best achieve its goal by having
an ally presiding over the Sangguniang Panglalawigan.
“How can our beloved Nueva
Ecija move forward if the governor and the vice governor are like a house
divided against itself?” he asked, alluding to the frequent deadlocks between
Umali and the opposition dominated Sanggunian led by Vice Gov. Edward Thomas
Padiernos added that while
he is counting on the machinery of Umali, he also has his own grassroots
organization and need not be totally dependent on the governor. ###
Mass in Gapan City
steps down as Malacañang deputy spokesperson
Former Palayan City Mayor
and Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo has resigned from
her Malacañang post to focus on her other job as presidential assistant
for Central Luzon.
Fajardo said that she made
the move after she was first offered the position of full time undersecretary
under the Office of the Press Secretary in place of fellow deputy spokesperson
Anthony Golez who resigned in November to run for congressmen in Bacolod
Fajardo's critics, though,
said that she was sacked after she said that President Arroyo would remain
friends with the Ampatuans of Maguindanao three days after the November
23 massacre of 57 persons which is being blamed on the clan. She has not
been seen by the media in Malacañang briefings since then.
Fajardo denied that she was
fired for her statement.
"The administration constantly
addresses various challenges and situations differently, some of which
call for a strategic realignment of priorities and resources…I welcome
the opportunity to dedicate my undivided energy to the demands of this
post. I will continue to serve at the President’s behest, in whatever capacity
that most satisfies her needs," she said.
Gary Olivar, deputy presidential
spokesperson, denied knowing that Fajardo was fired because of her statement
regarding the Ampatuans.
Olivar said that what he
knows is that Fajardo, a member of a political family in Nueva Ecija, chose
to focus on her governance work in her province.
Before joining the Arroyo
administration, Fajardo served as mayor of Palayan City from 2001 to 2004,
and national treasurer of the League of City Mayors of the Philippines.
She also served as chief of staff of her father, former Third Dist. Rep.
Pacifico Fajardo, from 1995 to 2001. ###
Niño threatens Ecija, 46 other provinces
The prevailing El Niño
episode which is expected to last until early next year is threatening
47 provinces, including Nueva Ecija.
The Department of Agriculture
(DA) identified the areas highly vulnerable to dry spell caused by El Niño
as Nueva Ecija, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan,
Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Cavite, Rizal, Occidental
Mindoro, Palawan, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Zamboanga
City, Sarangani and South Cotabato.
Areas considered as moderately
vulnerable are Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Mt Province, Isabela, Nueva
Vizcaya, Quirino, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Romblon, Sorsogon, Aklan, Antique,
Bohol, Samar, Zamboanga Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga Sur, Bukidnon,
Davao Oriental, Davao Sur and Davao City.
The agriculture department
said that total crop losses from the weather anomaly could reach P56.4
Usec. Bernie Fondevilla said
that the major sectors vulnerable to El Niño are palay and corn
farming. Also affected are livestock raising and fisheries.
He said that palay production
losses could reach 2.36 million metric tons valued at P40 billion, covering
Fondevilla said that the
government's El Niño mitigation program will focus on irrigation,
which involves applying different irrigation technologies and cloud seeding
operations; and production support through farm inputs. ###
shot dead in X'mas Eve drinking session
A 25 year old single woman
was shot five times while having a drinking session on Christmas Eve at
Purok 1, Barangay Tabuating, San Leonardo.
The victim was identified
as Mylene Acosta Catacutan, a resident of the same place.
It was learned that the victim
was drinking with a certain Melvin Garcia Carpio, 27, when the armed suspect
approached and repeatedly shot her. The suspect immediately escaped aboard
The victim was rushed to
Nueva Ecija Doctors Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
The San Leonardo police are
looking at love triangle as the motive for the shooting. ###