A year after illegal arrest
Groups clamor for
detained poet’s release
NUPL files motion for immediate resolution of Ericson Acosta
case before DOJ
A year after the
illegal arrest of poet and former UP Collegian editor Ericson Acosta,
his family, colleagues, human rights advocates and supporters “demand
nothing less than his immediate and unconditional release.”
“Ericson’s sense of
responsibility as Iskolar ng Bayan has led him to work in the
grassroots and create art with the people. (His) right to participate
productively as a free citizen of this country is violated each day he
remains in detention,” read a statement released by the Free Ericson
Acosta Campaign (FEAC) in a press conference and music jam at the
University of the Philippines Palma Hall lobby last Friday, February
The event was
organized by the All-UP Academic Employees Union and Acosta’s former
colleagues at the university, and was attended by prominent Filipino
cultural icons – US-based cultural critic and thinker Prof. Epifanio
San Juan, Jr.; women’s studies author Delia Aguilar; award-winning
scriptwriter and author Ricky Lee; actress, screen writer and UP
Regent Bibeth Orteza; UP College of Mass Communications Dean and
popular culture critic Roland Tolentino; and protest songwriter and
poet Jess Santiago, among others.
“The illegal arrest
and continued unjust detention of cultural worker Ericson Acosta is
concrete proof of the existence of political prisoners. There is
nothing righteous with having our artists like Acosta suffer in
incarceration,” Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA)
Secretary-General Angie Ipong said in a news release.
Acosta was arrested
without warrant by the military on February 13, 2011, in Brgy. Bay-ang,
San Jorge, Samar just because the laptop he carried roused the
suspicion of soldiers. Due to serious irregularities and rights abuses
in the conduct of his arrest, his counsel led by Atty. Jun Oliva of
the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), filed a Petition for
Review before the DOJ in September 2011, and moved to defer court
proceeding spending resolution of the said petition. Ideally, a review
petition should be resolved within 60 days.
“It is important for
us to bear witness to the truth of the injustice done to Acosta,”
Prof. E. San Juan, Jr. said.
Exactly a year after
Acosta’s illegal arrest, the NUPL will today file a motion for the
immediate resolution of the Review Petition. Aside from difficulties
faced by his family after Acosta’s detention in Samar, they also
protest continued military harassment and intimidation by troopers
from the 8th ID deployed within the jail facility.
“Instead of settling
for a stable, well-paying job, or going abroad like his brothers, our
son Ericson chose to teach literacy and work for the oppressed in
far-flung provinces. Something is terribly wrong when he is made to
suffer a year in prison for doing what he thinks is right,” lamented
Acosta’s father Isaias, who is now in his late ‘70s.
Acosta was named
finalist of the 2011 Imprisoned Artist Prize at the Freedom to Create
Awards Festival in Cape Town South Africa last November, along with
imprisoned artists from
and Tibet. Various human rights groups and cultural institutions,
including the Amnesty International, Campaign for Human Rights in the
Kingdom, University Council of UP Diliman, National Commission for
Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Philippine Center of the
International PEN (Poets, Essayists, Novelists) support the call for
“Even if it has
become dangerous to integrate with the masses, the scholars of the
nation know it has to be done,” Dean Roland Tolentino said in his
speech at the UP. Acosta’s songs and writings from prison is posted
by the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign in his JAILHOUSE BLOG (http://www.acostaprisondiary.blogspot.com).
Pictures can be downloaded from the Free Ericson Acosta Facebook page
and campaign blog (http://www.freeacosta.blogspot.com).
PNP PRO 8 scored again
in arresting wanted persons
By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
CAMP RUPERTO KANGLEON,
Palo, Leyte – PNP PRO 8 stands firm on the Chief PNP’s marching
order to sustain the accounting of wanted persons giving due attention
of the service of warrants.
"We will continue to
hunt down these wanted personalities and let them answer for their
crimes in the courts of law",
PNP Chief PDG Nicanor A. Bartolome declared. "At the end of the day, they
must pay for the crimes they committed and allow justice be accorded
to the victims", he added.
That is why, on
February 10, 2012 at about 10:30AM, operatives of Naval Police Station
led by PO1 Wilfredo B Matugas arrested one Henry Gore Matugas, of
legal age, married and a resident of Sitio Eden, Barangay Capińahan,
Naval, Biliran by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Honorable Pepe
P Domael, Acting presiding Judge of RTC Branch 16, Naval, Biliran for
the crime of Frustrated Murder with recommended bail of Two Hundred
Thousand Pesos (P200,000)
Another wanted person
was collared at about 11:45AM on February 9, 2012, a certain Wilfredo
Balodoy Bacolod, 53 years old, laborer from Sitio Bliss, Barangay
Calumpang, Naval, Biliran was arrested by elements of Maripipi Police
Station led by SPO1 Cleo A Cairo by virtue of warrant of arrest issued
by Honorable Bienvenido M. Montalla, Presiding Judge of RTC Branch 16,
Naval, Biliran for the crime of Rape with recommended bail of One
Hundred Twenty Thousand Pesos (P120,000).
On same date, another
suspect was arrested by Naval Police led by PO2 Jenrio A. Sarmiento
identified as Rommel Razo Sanosa, 37 years old, single and a resident
of Vicentillo Street, Barangay P Garcia, Naval, Biliran, by virtue of
Warrant of Arrest issued by Honorable Prospero T Rapada, Presiding
Judge of MCTC, Naval, Biliran for the crime of Oral Defamation.
On the campaign
against illegal gambling, on February 8, 2012, elements of Culaba
Police Station led by PInsp Jayson P. Balbarona arrested one Jesus
Rosarion, of legal age and a resident of Barangay Marvel, Culaba,
Biliran for violation of RA 9287 - An Act Increasing the Penalties for
Illegal Numbers Games, Amending Certain Provisions of Presidential
Decree No. 1602.
brought to respective Police Stations for disposition prior turn-over
to issuing courts.
ESAMELCO seeks ERC’s
OK on P750M loan; consumers fear power hike
By MEDORA NB QUIRANTE
BORONGAN CITY – To
improve the services it renders to its consumer-members, the Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative (ESAMELCO) is seeking authority from the
Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) to secure a P750M loan.
application addressed to ERC, schedules projects that, it says, will
“contribute to the improvement of the [cooperative’s] distribution
But the provincial
government of Eastern Samar under Gov. Conrado B. Nicart, Jr, also a
member-consumer of the cooperative, fears that the approval of the
loan would affect consumers’ bills so that it filed a petition for
intervention on February 7, 2012.
economic condition here in the country and the province tells us that
now is not the right time for an increase in power bills,” Provincial
Legal Officer Atty. Christopher R. Coles said.
ESAMELCO’s application, an additional “P0.7169 per kilowatt-hour” will
be passed on to its member-consumers once its Capital Expenditures
Program, anchored on the multi-million peso loan, is approved.
As of press time,
residential connections pay P0.4004 per kilowatt-hour for the
Reinvestment Fund for Sustainable Capital Expenditures and debt
servicing for ESAMELCO’s current loans, shown as “RFSF” on a
“I’m not convinced
that consumers should be made to bear the brunt of paying for loans,”
Reinier Ampong, a resident of
For this reason,
Ampong, whose household consumed 143 kilowatt-hours last month and
paid P57.26 for the RFSC last month, signed a petition for
intervention filed by other member-consumers in Borongan City.
In an interview with
ESAMELCO Officer-in-charge Marilyn Reyes, this writer learned that the
City Government of Borongan and the Municipal Government of Guiuan
also filed separate petitions.
If ESAMELCO gets the
approval it needs for the loan, with the same usage, Ampong will have
to pay P159.7739 for RFSC and will thus result to a P102.5139 increase
in his electric bill (assuming all other charges remain the same).
Whether this will
happen or not, Ampong could only wait for the result of the first ERC
hearing on the application this February 17 at ESAMELCO’s main office
in Borongan City.
Chiz presses bill on
waiver on bank deposits for gov’t officials
By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
PASAY CITY – Had
Senate Bill No. (SBN) 107 been passed into law, the current debate on
the examination of bank deposits – whether local or foreign currency
accounts – would have been averted, Senator Chiz Escudero said.
SBN 107, or the
Submission of Written Waiver or Permission in Favor of the Ombudsman
to Look into All Deposits, has been put forward by Escudero since 2010
to ensure accountability and transparency of officials and employees
already in government and those who plan to join government service.
The bill proposes that
all public officials and employees, except those who serve in honorary
capacity, shall consent to opening their financial assets to
government audit through a written waiver submitted to the Office of
“Our law on bank
secrecy prohibits disclosure of information relating to a customer’s
bank account, unless under extreme circumstances as what the current
impeachment proceeding has shown. But foreign currency deposit is an
elusive and tricky matter, which is now a hotly contested issue
transcending institutions,” Escudero explained.
The senator reiterated
the importance of passing the legislation as a due diligence on the
part of the government to ensure that civil servants do not use their
positions to enrich themselves while in office.
“Any public official
who fails to submit themselves to such shall not be allowed to enter
upon or continue exercising the functions of his office,” he added.
“Consent is tantamount to good faith effort and compliance.”
For the protection of
the civil servant, however, the bill stipulates that only the Office
of the Ombudsman may obtain or use the written permission or any other
information gathered from it.
“It shall be for the
exclusive use of the Sandiganbayan, which is investigating a duly
signed and verified complaint. It cannot be used for fishing
expedition and witch-hunting,” Escudero stressed.
Any person found
violating the provisions shall be punished with a fine not exceeding
the equivalent of one year salary or suspension not exceeding one
year, or removal from office or disqualification to hold public
“We want to put in
place a mechanism that promotes openness and transparency in the
public sector. The signing of a waiver in favor of the government will
allow the examination of the civil servant’s bank accounts and
investments in government bonds,” Escudero said.
And those who would
refuse to sign, Escudero said, they are “free to go to the private
sector because working in the government is a privilege and not a
Ex-Sen. Herrera in hot
water for misuse of TUCP funds
QUEZON CITY – The
disgraced former Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)
Secretary-General Ernesto Herrera will be charged with a string of
criminal charges once the external audit of TUCP projects is
“Mr. Herrera will have
a day of reckoning where he will be held accountable for serious
allegations of siphoning funds allegedly into his personal bank
account when he was still a leader of TUCP,” said Alan Tanjusay, TUCP
Advocacy Officer adding: “if proven, this is an embarrassing fall and
disgraceful way to end his political career.”
Based on reports by
the external auditors who are conducting the audit of TUCP projects,
Herrera had committed acts which are against accounting rules and
standards by using his position and authority as the former General
Former TUCP Finance
Officer Eve Legion had signed an affidavit stating the former two-time
senator instructed her to prepare vouchers, withdrawal slips, checks
and/or orders of payment payable to him as cash advance.
“These cash advances
sometimes were never liquidated or no reports made as to how these
monies were spent,” explained Legion.
“Worse, while certain
checks were payable to (former) Sen. Ernesto Herrera, he signed the
checks himself as signatory which is not a sound policy on accounting,
auditing and internal control system, considering that he is the
payee,” Legion added.
Legion maintained that
Atty. Democrito T. Mendoza, the TUCP President, was never consulted
and was kept in the dark by Herrera on various expenditures and
transactions. “They were carried without prior clearance and approval
of the President,” emphasize Legion.
In an audit report
prepared by an external auditor, Herrera made unliquidated cash
advances amounting to 2.5 million pesos intended for a TUCP project.
The report showed the
first check with an amount of 300,000 pesos Herrera signed and issued
to himself was made on
February 24, 2010. This check was deposited in his personal bank account
a day later.
The second and third
checks dated March 9, 2010 with an amount of 2 million and on March
26, 2010 with an amount of 250,000 pesos were signed by him and issued
to his name. These were, again, deposited in his personal bank account
hours after he issued the checks.
October 12, 2011 -
TUCP President Democrito Mendoza confronted then TUCP
Secretary-General Ernesto Herrera with the external audited discovery
of siphoning of TUCP funds allegedly into his personal bank account.
October 19, 2011 -
Mendoza tendered his resignation to the TUCP General Council to bring
up major discussions on transparency and accountability issues within
the TUCP. The Council pleaded Mendoza to stay on and made him retract
November 11, 2011 -
Herrera took an oath of office before a municipal mayor in the Visayas
assuming presidency of TUCP.
January 24, 2012 -
Citing Herrera’s illegal and disloyalty inimical to the TUCP, the TUCP
General Council removed Herrera as Secretary-General and replaced him
with Victorino Balais, president of the Philippine Trade and General
Workers Organization (PTGWO), a long-time affiliate of TUCP.
January 25, 2012 -
Herrera and henchmen attempted to takeover TUCP compound and offices
but was prevented by Quezon City police. Reports said he allegedly
attempted to seize the damning financial documents and dossiers which
will prove his complicity.
Leyte IDOL semifinals
Media Relations Center
February 9, 2012
TACLOBAN CITY – As
the pitch gets high in the ongoing singing talent search Leyte IDOL,
24 provincial semi-finalists have now been trimmed down to 19 during
last Sunday’s show, from which the Final 8 for Season 7 will be
Saying goodbye in last
week’s race were April Angela Primer of Tanauan,
Leyte and Christien Leigh P. Sebidos of
The remaining 19
contestants will again take center stage on February 12 at the Capitol
Gymnasium, which has now become home to the Leyte IDOL search.
contenders are Chelka Mae R. Sebuguero, Shanice Kae O. Suarez and
Nancy J. Pical of Ormoc City; Jessa L. Vilbar of Hilongos, Leyte;
Jezlee-Ann M. Pacio, Richard Rey C. Bajar, Ermina Meg R. Magallanes,
Vanessa Grace A. Tiempo and Claudine Matias of Tacloban City; Carla
Mae S. Emfirmo and Mark Dave N. Lebria of Tanauan, Leyte; Czaren S.
Artoza of Jaro, Leyte; Verna Varron, Christian A. Villacura of Baybay
City, Leyte; Wenie G. Lloren of Inopacan, Leyte; Shintara Rose T.
Crisostomo of Sogod, So. Leyte; Ma. Carmel Gen D. Mercado of Palo,
Leyte; Justin Charles Batican of Albuera, Leyte; and, Ruffa Mae A. De
Mesa of Babatngon, Leyte.
Leyte Idol Season 7
has been opened to all singing talents from cities and municipalities
in the entire Eastern Visayas region.
The search held
auditions in other towns and cities in the region such as Naval in
Biliran, Ormoc City, Borongan City, Calbayog City, Catbalogan City,
Catarman in Northern Samar, and Sogod and Maasin City in Southern
Male and female
singers, from 15-25 years old, with excellent vocal quality and
possessing a star appeal auditioned for the search. A number of them
have now reached the provincial semi-finals.
Those who reached the
semi-final round in this search are given proper music training,
exposure and opportunities that will help widen their singing talent
The Leyte Idol
takes a grueling minimum of eight months in the making for each season
before the Magic 8 grand finalists are chosen. During the Leyte Idol
Season 6, which capped last April this year, some 500 hopefuls from
different towns of the province were screened.
Use of the terrorist
NPA to scare Palparan hit
By ANAD Partylist
QUEZON CITY –
“Malacańang’s call for retired Gen. Jovito Palparan to surrender
rather than get caught by Maoist terrorist NPAs smacks of impropriety
and against the moral fibers and sensibilities of peace and freedom
loving Filipinos as it vividly shows the undeclared working relation
between government and the Maoist terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF, a violent and
inhuman enemy of the state!”
ANAD Rep. Jun Alcover
issued this statement in reaction to media reports quoting
Presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte saying “. . .
surrendering to authorities would be Palparan’s better option rather
than be tried by the NPA’s Peoples Court.” (pp 6, Manila Bulletin,
“In effect, government
has abrogated its responsibility and legitimate function, to enforce
the law on Palparan, to this particular enemy of the state when it
used the NPA’s to frighten so as to force Palparan to surface,” said
“What is the legal
basis of Ms. Valte’s statement? Has government already extended the
mantle of legitimacy on the Maoist terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF?” he asked.
Rep. Alcover expressed
dismay on the temerity of some Palace officials, particularly the
alter egos of the President, to issue statements that tend to put
government in bad light. “Using the terrorist NPA to scare Palparan is
Malacańang’s admission that indeed they’re helpless and have miserably
failed in hunting down Gen. Palparan,” he pointed out.
Reminiscing the fact
that the Maoist terrorist NPA in the Visayas issued a shoot-to-kill
order against him, Rep. Alcover said that the communist’s ‘Kangaroo’
Peoples Court tried him in absentia immediately handed down their
death sentence in 1986 amidst the peace negotiations then between the
government and the Maoist communist terrorists.
“Until now the very
same NPA order still holds and they’re still vigorously pursuing to
kill me! But my faith in the Almighty and our free and democratic
government remains supreme. The communists, particularly the NPAs,
cannot do anything for as long government stands fully committed to
uphold the rule of law. In this case and like Palparan, the government
should be hunting the NPAs down for despicable crimes committed
against humanity and government. However, it would be another story
and totally different if government chooses to dance the tango with
the enemies of the state! This is what we should be guarding against,”
said Rep. Alcover.
unthinkable is the manner in which government is using the enemy of
the state against her own people, more so against Gen. Palparan who
has offered more than half of his life in the service of our country
through the highly regarded profession of arms,” the sole
pro-democracy solon emphasized.
“Again, I hope
that President Aquino III shall whip up his team of spin masters so as
not to further embarrass the government,” he added.
government offices declared as plastic and styrofor-free zones
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY –
Starting March 1, 2012, plastic and styrofor food containers will
already be banned at the Leyte Provincial Government buildings and
This after the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Leyte passed a resolution prohibiting the
entry of plastic and Styrofoam/styrofor receptacles used as food
containers in the offices and buildings of the provincial government
of Leyte and henceforth declaring all such offices and buildings as
plastic and Styrofoam/styrofor-free zones effective March 1, 2012.
The resolution which
was authored by First District of Leyte Board Member Roque A. Tiu,
chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources, further resolved to
encourage other government offices and agencies as well as the local
government units to also declare their offices and buildings as
plastic and styrofor-free zones.
In passing the
resolution, the Provincial Board took cognizance of the fact that it
has earlier passed SP Ordinance No. 2011-01 known as the Anti-Plastic
Ordinance of 2011 of the Province of Leyte.
Pursuant to the said
ordinance, the Provincial Board deemed it imperative for the
Provincial Government to initiate a good example of sharing with the
national government the responsibility in the management and
maintenance of ecological balance hence encouraging its employees to
use non-disposable or reusable containers in taking out food from the
canteen or food stalls or in bringing food from home to the office.
Before passing the
resolution, the author consulted the officers of the Provincial
Association of Government Employees representing the employees of the
provincial government and it was unanimously agreed to implement the
no plastic and no styrofor policy.
Board Member Tiu cited
the PAGE officers for adopting the No Plastic, No Styrofor Policy as
its project by helping ensure that every division or office in the
Provincial Government will abide by the policy.
action of the provincial government, other government offices and
local government units to stop the harmful effects of the use of
plastic bags, styrofor and other similar receptacles, will contribute
to the protection of the environment and make the province a safer
place to live in, Board Member Tiu said.
5 East Visayas
engineering districts top DPWH IEC program implementation in 2011
By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
TACLOBAN CITY – The
Department of Public Works and Highways Central Office commended five
Engineering Districts in Eastern Visayas for topping the
implementation of Information, Education and Communication program for
the whole year of 2011.
DPWH Region 8 Director
Rolando Asis informed that on January 13, 2012, at the DPWH Head
Office, Undersecretary Romeo S. Momo officially announced and
congratulated the top five district engineering district offices in
Region 8 for their consistent efforts in complying with the required
number of reports as part of their IEC program implementation.
Among the 182 district
engineering offices in the entire country, DPWH Region 8 bagged the
top 5 achievers.
identified the five top achievers as the Catarman, Northern Samar 1st
Engineering District under the leadership of District Engineer Sandy
Pua as the number 1 Top Achiever; Catarman, Northern Samar 2nd
Engineering District under the leadership of District Engineer David
Adongay as the 2nd Top Achiever; and Leyte 4th Engineering District
led by District Engineer Lino Francisco Gonzales was proclaimed as the
3rd Top Achiever.
Also among the top 5
achievers is the Biliran District Engineering Office led by District
Engineer Virginia Sarabusing which was proclaimed as the 4th Top
Achiever while the 5th Top Achiever was the
Engineering District led by District Engineer Margarita Junia.
Ms. Antonietta Lim,
DPWH Information Officer said that the criteria for evaluation
included consistency in submitting the required number of reports such
as newsletters, news clippings, media monitoring/action reports,
flyers, briefing materials, lobby board display, annual accomplishment
report, documentation of project inspection report, other important
information materials, and the successful implementation of the
information, education and communication program of the department for
the year 2011.
The certificates of
recognition to the five achievers will be presented by DPWH 8 Regional
Director Rolando Asis and Assistant Regional Director Edgar Tabacon on
February 21 at the DPWH Multi-Purpose Hall, Ms. Lim informed.