Volume 16 / No. 24   |  December 31,  2016
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
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Ombudsman okays charges
vs. ex-Rep. Umali over PDAF

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approved last December 28 the filing of criminal charges against former 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Umali and five others for the questionable use of his 2005 Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Ordered charged with four counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and three counts of malversation aside from Umali were Janet Lim Napoles; Regional Executive Director Renato Manantan  and accountant Narcisa Maningding of the Department of Agriculture; and Anita Tansipek and Corazon Bautista, both from the Samahan ng mga Manininda ng Prutas sa Gabi, Inc.

Umali and Manantan were also found guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

They were ordered dismissed from the service with perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits. In case of separation from government service, the penalty will be converted to a fine equivalent to the respondents' one year salary.

The case involved the mishandling of P15 million PDAF fund for the acquisition of irrigation pumps and fertilizers for Umali's constituents in Laur, Gabaldon, Bongabon, Santa Rosa, General Natividad and Cabanatuan City.

Investigators discovered that in 2005, Umali identified and endorsed the Samahan and the Masaganang Ani para sa Magsasaka Foundation, Inc. (MMFI). as NGO partners. The agriculture department downloaded P12 million to MAMFI and P3 million to Samahan. The respondents made it appear that the funds were used to buy 7,920 bottles of liquid fertilizers and 15 irrigation pumps.

It was later learned that no real purchase was made since the liquid fertilizers were sourced from another company owned by Napoles, Nutrigrowth Phlipines. As for the  irrigation pumps, it was discovered to be a ghost purchase.

The investigation by the Ombudsman also showed that the NGO lacked credentials and track record to implement multimillion projects.

"Umali likewise signed the project proposals and endorsed said NGOs to facilitate the release of the funds to them," the Ombudsman's resolution said

It was noted that the funds in question could not have been transferred to the NGOs if not for certifications, approvals and signatures in the disbursement vouchers and checks. ###

Fifth Ecija congressional district proposed

A bill filed during the previous congress for the creation of a fifth congressional district in Nueva Eicja has been revived.

Second Dist. Rep. Micaela Salvador-Violago filed a bill for the splitting of two cities and six munipalities in the Second Congressional District into two legislative districts.

Violago's bill was a rehash of a proposal filed in 2013 by her husband, former Rep. Jose Gilbert Violago.

The Second Congressional Distirct now comprises the cities of San Jose and Muñoz and the municipalities of Carranglan, Llanera, Lupao, Pantabangan, Rizal and Talugtug.

In Violago’s proposed bill, San Jose and the towns of Carranglan, Lupao and Talugtug will make up the Second District, while the Fifth Congressional District will be created from Muñoz, Llanera, Pantabangan and Rizal

Violago said the increasing population of Nueva Ecija calls for the reapportioning of its.legislative district.to meet the socio-economic demands of the province.

Nueva Ecija, the biggest province in the region in terms of land area, is currently divided into four congressional districts represented by Estrellita Suansing in the First District; Violago, Second District; Rosanna Vergara, Third District; and Magnolia Antonino, Fourth District. ###

Llanera cooperative, Talavera entrepreneur bag 2016 Gawad Saka awards

A cooperative in Llanera and a dairy entrepreneur in Talavera were among the 2016 National Gawad Saka awardees of the Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Regional Director Andrew Villacorta said the Bagumbayan Primary Multipurpose Cooperative of Llanaera was cited as Outstanding Farmer Organization.

DVF Dairy Farms, Inc. of Talavera bagged the Outstanding Agri-Enterpreneur award.

Meanwhile, Celestino Mananguit of San Ildefonso, Biulacan was awarded as Outstanding Animal Raiser.

The Gawad Saka Award is a national search for outstanding achievers in the fields of agriculture and fisheries. It aims to honor the invaluable contribution of the agricultural sector in the country’s economic performance, including farmers, fisherfolk, livestock raisers, farmers’ organizations, agri-entrepreneurs, and scientists.

Villacorta said the three national awards were a testament to the healthy agriculture sector in Central Luzon. ###

DSWD, PCC agree to distribute free carabao milk to kids

Over 10,000 children will be given free carabao milk under a pilot project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Muñoz-based Philippine Carabao Center.

The children, three to five years old, will each be given 200 milligrams of milk daily in day care centers in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija (1,121 beneficiaries); Talibon, Bohol (1,652); and the towns of Famulog (1,270), San Fernando (3,033) and Maramag (3,018) in Bukidnon.

Arnel del Barrio, acting PCC executive director, said the milk will be added to the regular meals given under the government's supplementary feeding program.

The milk comes from carabaos of small dairy farmers, and is processed, packaged and delivered in ready-to-drink packs by PCC-assisted cooperatives to the day care centers.

The memorandum of agreement for the project was signed by del Barrio and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

The dairy farmers will be paid based on the volume of milk they deliver.to PCC.###

NE police asks for media's support in fight against illegal drugs

Top officials of the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office (NEPPO) asked media men in the province to support the new program "United Stand Against Dangerous Drugs".

At the fellowship of NEPPO and provincial media held at the NEPPO Hostel last December 24, Sr. Supt. Antonio Yarra, newly appointed provincial director, cited the important role of media in police campaigns, specially the war on illegal drugs.

Statistics show that Nueva Ecija topped Central Luzon provinces in the number of drug surrenderees.

In response, Jojo de Guzman, president of the Nueva Ecija Philippine National Police Press Corps vowed the continued cooperation of media to the provincial police. ###

Mahindra distributes bicycles and slippers in depressed Gapan barangays

As part of its social responsibility, Indian car maker Mahindra Philippines donated 50 bicycles and 500 slippers to high school students and  elementary pupils in Sitio Maruhat and Sitio Sapang Kawayan, two depressed areas in Gapan City

The project, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Meycauyan, aimed to help 50 students in Maruhat National High School, who walk to school up to 10 kilometers daily on dirt road, by giving them bicycles.

Pupils of Sapang Kawayan Elementary School, on the other hand, were given 500 pairs of slippers to replace their worn out ones.

Mahindra Philippines Marketing Manager Kristoff Arcega said that in their company, they rise to life by participating in activities that have a direct impact on fellow Filipinos.

Mahindra is the official supplier of vehicles of the Philippine National Police. ###

16 flat screen TV sets stolen from provincial hospital

Robbers broke into the stockroom of the Eduardo L. Joson Memorial Hospital in Barangay Daang Sarile, Cabanatuan City and took away 16 units of flat screen television sets worth P144,000.

Supt. Ponciano Zafra, city police chief, said the robbery was discovered by the OIC supply officer, Lolit Ignacio, when she opened the stockroom at the second floor of the Annex III Building.

Police are investigating the robbery. ###

Prosecutor's house robbed

The house of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Julius King Cruz in Kapitan Pepe Subdivision, Cabanatuan City was robbed of his pistol, jewelry and P10,000 in cash.

Supt. Ponciano Zafra, city police chief, said the robbery was discovered at midnight.

The suspects destroyed the screen of the steel window at a side of the house and forcibly opened the adjacent kitchen door.

Among the items stolen were a caliber .45 pistol, a gold bracelet and necklace valued at P110,000 and P10,000 in cash.###

Palayan tricycle driver hit and killed by SUV

A tricycle driver was bumped and killed by a sports utility vehicle along the Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road in Palayan City on the night of December 18.

Chief Insp. Arnel Santiago of the city police identified the victim as Ronald Tullao Sanchez, 38, of Barangay Manacnac.

Investigation showed that the victim was crossing the highway from a waiting shed when bumped by a speeding SUV whose driver then sped away.

Sanchez was rushed to Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City but was declared dead on arrival. ###

Wife of state u. president dies in vehicular accident

The wife of the president of a state university died when the sports utility vehicle she was riding was bumped by a trailer truck along Maharlika Highway in Cabanatuan City last December 24.

The victim was identified as Febelyn Tejano Ngohayon, 45, of Barangay Castillo, Echague, Isabela.

She was the wife of Serafin Lintok Ngohayon, 49, president of Ifugao State University and a resident of Barangay Cruz Roja, Cabanatuan City, who was riding the same vehicle together with their two children.###

Zaragoza debt collector shot dead

A 46-year-old debt collector was shot dead while he slept with his wife inside their sari-sari store in Barangay Concepcion, Zaragoza last December 25.

The victim, Carlito Buenavente, was sleeping beside his wife at 7:30 P.M. when the suspects entered the store and shot him, killing him instantly.

His wife, Jennifer, was unharmed.

Investigators recovered five caliber .45 shells at the scene.

The motive for the attack has yet to be established. ###

Body found on Jaen farm

The body of an unidentified man was discovered by a farmer on a rice field in Barangay San Jose, Jaen last December 21.

The body had multiple stab wounds in different parts.

The farmer said he  heard gunshots a few minutes before he fond the body at 1:55 A.M. ###

San Isidro chicken vendor hangs self

A 26-year old chicken vendor hanged himself last December 31 after a serious spat with his live-in partner in Sitio Dike, Barangay Poblacion, San Isidro.

The victim, who hanged himself with a cable, was identified as Jessie Boy Mawak Cortez of Purok 7, Barangay Sucad, Apalit, Pamapanga.

It was learned that at about 9:00 P.M. Cortez sadly told Francis Mana Marcos, "Boss hindi ko na kaya ‘yung nakita kong ginawa ng asawa ko, papakamatay na lang ako. Mara¬ming salamat sa pagkupkop ninyo sa akin ni boss."

The following day, his body was discovered by Chrstian Idica Santiago, 16, hanging in the house of their boss, Leonardo Marcos Gripal. ###

Gapan drug suspect killed in raid

A Gapan City drug suspect was shot and killed by the police when he threw a grenade at them during a drug raid last December 20.

SPO1 Elmer Portillo, investigator of the city police, identified the fatality as Arnold Rivera.

Recovered from him were three plastic sachets of shabu and drug paraphernalia. ###

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