Volume 15 / No. 20    |    November 15, 2015
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
and updated every 15th and
end of the month.
All rights reserved.

Mayor Jay faces
disqualification case

The chief rival of re-electionist Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara has filed a disqualification case against him for allegedly being a US immigrant.

Ramon Garcia, former three-term councilor of Cabanatuan City and Sangguniang Panlalawigan member and currently the barangay chair of Barlis, filed the disqualification petition against Vergara with the central office of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in Intramuros, Manila.

He asked that Vergara be declared ineligible as mayoral candidate and have his name deleted from the list of Cabanatuan mayoral candidates.

Garcia noted that a candidate who has filed his certificate of candidacy should have indicated his ineligibility for office and that he is not a permanent resident of or an immigrant in a foreign country.

He disputed Vergara's claim that he has been a resident of Rizal corner Lopez Jaena Streets in Barangay Rizdelis for 56 years and four months by saying that this is contrary to the mayor's travel records showing that he frequently visited the United States with his wife, Rosanna.

Garcia's petition showed that the Vergara couple traveled to the US 10 times between July 15, 2014 and June 27 this year.

“The frequency of respondent’s (Vergara) visit to the United States basing on his travel records and accompanied by his American wife during said travel would lead to a reasonable conclusion that respondent is an immigrant to the United States of America,” Garcia said in his petition.

He said Vergara's acquisition of a permanent resident status in the US amounted to an abandonment and renunciation of his status as a resident of the Philippines. ###

... his wife, Ria, too

A disqualification case was filed last November 6 against Rosanna "Ria" Vergara, wife of Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, who is running for Third District representative against outgoing Governor Aurelio Umali.

Vergara said the disqualification case filed against her by Philip Piccio, a broadcaster of the provincial government-owned television channel, was a political harassment by the Umali camp because Piccio is an ally of the governor.

In his petition, Piccio claimed that Vergara should be disqualified for being an American citizen. He said she holds an American passport.

In a statement issued in Manila by Vergara's lawyer, former COMELEC Commissioner Gregorio Larrazal, she claimed the disqualification charge is nothing more than personal and political vendetta.

“I am fully confident that the law is on my side. I am a natural-born Filipino citizen. I have been a registered voter in the City of Cabanatuan since 1994, and as such, have been a resident thereof at least since that time.  I am more than qualified and, more to the point, competent to run as and be the representative of the Third District of Nueva Ecija,” Vergara said.

She said she has nothing to hide and is more than ready to face Umali in court, at the Commission on Elections and in the 2016 elections.

Vergara accused Piccio of having an ax to grind against her and her husband because she filed a libel against the broadcaster in 2013 for alleging that Mayor Vergara is a US immigrant. She also filed a separate libel case against Piccio for alluding that Cabanatuan Electric Corp. and First Cabanatuan Ventures Corp. where she is a top official were involved in the manipulation of electricity price.###

Umali denies harassing Vergara

Governor Aurelio Umali denied allegations that he is harassing his rival in the 2016 congressional election.

Rosanna "Ria" Vergara, who is running against Umali for the Third Congressional District seat, had accused the outgoing governor of harassment after a disqualification case was filed against her at the Commission on Elections central office by Philip Picicio, a voter of Barangay Kapitan Pepe, Cabanatuan City and a known ally of Umali. Piccio said Vergara holds an American passport.

Umali dared Vergara to show her passport.

“I am not a vindictive person. Just let her face and answer the accusations and show her passport,” Umali said. ###

Former Laur mayor charged with malversation

Former Laur Mayor Blas Canlas was charged with malversation at the Sandiganbayan for his alleged failure to liquidate P3.5 million in public funds.

Prosecutors from the Office of the Ombudsman accused Canlas of willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriating, embezzling and converting P3.5 million in public funds for his personal use and benefit.

The funds in question were placed under the custody of Canlas as cash advances to his office.

The prosecutors said the former mayor failed to liquidate the funds upon demand, resulting in damage and prejudice to the government.

Canlas is accused of violating Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code, which requires public officials to be accountable for the public funds and property under their office, and penalizes the misappropriation or malversation of such funds through negligence or abandonment.

Incumbent Mayor Alvaro Daus and Municipal Accountant Marina Padilla re set to testify against the former mayor. ###

Lando-affected farmers still waiting for insurance benefits

Farmers affected by Typhoon Lando have not been paid by the government's crop insurance agency as of the first week of November for their damaged crops .

This was according to Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG), an umbrella group of 33 organizations of farmers, agribusiness operators and party-list groups.

SINAG Chair Rosendo So said they have not heard of anyone getting any payout from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC).

In Nueva Ecija, which was hardest hit by the calamity, backyard hog raisers in Gabaldon, San Leonardo, San Antonio and Gapan have nothing to turn to for insurance benefits because backyard stock is not covered by PCIC.

During the last week of October, PCIC said it expected to pay out a total of P732 million to farmers affected by Lando. ###

Suansing asks NIA: Waive irrigation service fees of farmers affected by 'Lando'

Second District Rep. Estrellita Suansing has filed a House resolution urging the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to waive the collection of irrigation service fees from farmers hit by Typhoon Lando in Nueva  Ecija for the rest of the wet planting season to help offset their economic losses.

Suansing said this would greatly help the farmers in her province considered as the "Rice Granary of the Philippines".

As of October 20, NIA's Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS) reported that  93,873.13 hectares of rice farms in Nueva Ecija were destroyed by Lando. Only 10,108 hectares of rice had been harvested before the typhoon struck.

Suansing said Nueva Ecija farmers deserve a respite from their present condition. ###

BIR employee commits suicide

A lady employee of the Bureau of Internal  Revenue (BIR) allegedly shot herself in the head with a caliber .45 pistol in her home in San Isidro last November 9.

The victim was identified as Mary Jane dela Cruz, 51, of 1054 Purok 6, Barangay Malapit, San Isidro and assigned to the BIR Cabanatuan District Office.

The victim's daughter-in law, Mariz dela Cruz, said she was in her room when she heard a gunshot from the victim's room.

She unlocked the victim's room and found her lying in bed, bloody. She asked for help from relatives and the police.

The victim's son, Tristan Kim, told investigators that before the incident, he noticed that the victim looked anxious, irritated and worried due to stress in her work and some family problems.

Isa raw pinoproblema ng biktima na masyadong iniintindi ay noong ilipat siya ng destino sa trabaho,” PO3 Marmel de  Guizman said.

Investigators said the victim had tried to commit suicide twice before but was saved by relatives. ###

Policeman shot dead

A policeman, formerly an anti-drug operative, was shot dead by a gunman in San Leonardo on the night of November 8.

Sr. Supt. Manuel Cornel, provincial police director, identified the victim as SPO2 Manuel Pangilinan, 45, widower, of Barangay Mambangnan, San Leonardo and assigned to the General Tinio police station.

While the victim was having dinner with three companions in a restaurant in Barangay Diversion, the suspect approached and fired at him in different parts of the body.

The suspect then rode a waiting black Suzuki Raider motorcycle driven by an accomplice and fled towards the west.

The victim was rushed to Gonzales General Hospital but was declared dead on arrival. ###

Crime gang leader killed in San Leonardo shootout

Police shot dead the alleged leader of a crime gang operating in Nueva Ecija during a shootout in Barangay Tabuting, San Leonardo.

Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, acting police regional director, identified the fatality as Roberto Peralta, said to be the province's "most wanted" person.

Lacadin said the police were tipped by barangay residents of the presence of Peralta, who was facing murder and illegal drug cases in various courts in the province.

When the police team tasked to serve Peralta an arrest warrant approached his hideout, the suspect fired at them resulting in a shootout.

Police recovered a caliber .38 revolver from the dead suspect. ###

4 killed in anti-crime drive

Four suspected members of criminal gangs were killed while a civilian was hurt in separate encounters with  policemen in Nueva Ecija last November 7.

In Lupao, Ronald Ibay and three companions were about to stage a robbery along the Lupao-Muñoz Road in Barangay Mapangpang when they were intercepted by the police at a checkpoint at past 4:00 P.M. last November 7.

The police tried to persuade the group to surrender peacefully when they were cornered but they fired at the lawmen resulting in a shootout and the death of three suspects

A civilian bystander, Ayana Ashley Dagdag , was slightly injured.

Ibay had a pending carnapping case after forcibly taking a motorcycle from a poultry worker in Talugtog.

His two dead companions and one who managed to escape are said to be from Tarlac,

In Barangay Sapang, Jaen, Rex Cabral, ranked Number 2 in the list of persons engaged in illegal drugs in the town, died when he shot it out with policemen who were about to arrest him after a buy-bust operation. ###

Retired Talavera prof victimized by 'Budol-budol' gang

A 77-year old retired college professor was victimized by suspected members of a 'Budol-budol' gang in Talavera last November 2.

Sr. Supt. Manuel Cornel, provincial police director, identified the victim as Teresita Arenas-Cabanilla of Esguerra District.

She lost P240,000 and half-a-million pesos worth of jewelry to a man and two women who asked her to accompany them to a hardware store in Barangay Poblacion.

The man introduced himself as a physician from Canada and a classmate of the victim's son. One woman identified herself as the man's wife while the other said she was a businesswoman from Masbate.

Cornel said the incident started while the victim was walking home from a drug store at 12:30 P.M. The suspects aboard a red Toyota Vios stopped and asked the victim to accompany them to a nearby hardware store to buy construction materials worth P110,000.

While inside the car, a suspect told Cabanilla that she would receive a P10,000  bonus and another P10,000 for the discount for the purchase of the materials from the hardware store.

The suspects started questioning the victim's finances, including her cash, passbook and jewelry.

Cabanilla said she was hypnotized by the suspects, to whom she gave her P240,000 cash, Land Bank of the Philippines passbook and assorted jewelry from her bag.

Before escaping, the suspects left a bag with the victim allegedly containing her money and promised to return to get it back.

When the victim opened the bag later, it contained only an envelope and bundles of paper. ###

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