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Soria orders stepped-up security measures as 76 rookie cops beef-up police stations

PRO8 arrests 8 more drug suspects in Eastern Visayas

Army troops return to Samar

13 former rebels receive livelihood assistance

DILG, Ormoc sign MOA; Business sector supports RSP-Enhanced BPLS

Region 8 nominee wins national search for Idol ng TESDA self-employed category

PRO8 honors men, units, partners on 112th Police Service Anniversary

CSC conducts orientation on elected officials in EV

PRO8 number 2 man promoted to star-rank

Chiz bats for cedula abolition


Chiz challenges colleagues to open PDAF use to public scrutiny

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
October 2, 2013

PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz Escudero said the disbursement and use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) by legislators should be open to public scrutiny to ensure transparency and accountability.

Escudero issued the call to his fellow lawmakers to open their books to the Filipino people amid the reported misuse and abuse of the PDAF, which was originally intended to finance the pet projects of senators and congressmen.

A recent special report by the Commission on Audit (COA) and revelations at the ongoing investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee initially showed that some lawmakers have allegedly connived with bogus non-government organizations to pocket kickbacks through ghost projects.

“Whether it’s PDAF, pork barrel or DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program) is immaterial. The important issues here are transparency and accountability. At the end of the day, as public officials entrusted with public funds, we should be able to explain to the public how these were disbursed and used,” said Escudero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

According to Escudero, how each lawmaker allocated and used every single centavo earmarked for the PDAF should be made public and accessible to all stakeholders for scrutiny in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

“This is a challenge to my fellow legislators: reveal how you spent public funds. We owe it to our constituents, we owe it to our taxpayers,” he said.

Since Escudero started availing of the special budget for legislators’ pet projects in 2010, he has posted on his website ( the detailed allocation of his PDAF to local government units (LGUs) across the country. The senator did not receive any PDAF during the Arroyo administration.

He said all the allocations he received under the PDAF had been properly accounted for and open to scrutiny by COA and the public. “All releases and disbursements to LGUs which had sought my assistance were transparent and verifiable. These can be scrutinized by COA and the public anytime.”

Escudero also sought to clarify the “confusion” surrounding the P96 million (not P99 million as earlier reported) he had requested the Department of Budget and Management to download to local LGUs to finance their requests for repairs of specialty hospitals and construction of public markets.

The whole P96 million released by the DBM through its DAP covered the project funding requests that went directly to LGUs in the cities and municipalities of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, Rizal, Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan, among others, mostly for infrastructure projects and medical help.

Majority of the LGUs received P500,000 each for the construction and rehabilitation of their public markets.

Since the senator started using his PDAF in 2010, he had only funded infrastructure projects and medical assistance through various LGUs, as well as improvement of regional and specialty hospitals.





Police filed murder raps vs. suspects in ex-village chief’s slay in Samar

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
October 1, 2013

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The police filed Monday criminal charges against alleged gunmen in the Sunday morning killing of a former chairman of Lagundi village in Catbalogan City.

A case for murder was filed at the Office of the City Prosecutor against Reymund Bañar and one John Doe docketed under NPS number VIII-08-INQ-131-00432 dated September 30, 2013, according to PCSupt. Elmer R. Soria, director of Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8).

“The witnesses pointed to Bañar as one of the two gunmen who shot ex-chairman Filomeno Cabarriban,” Soria said.

Bañar, 21, is now in police custody after his arrest in a manhunt operation by a joint police team from the Regional Special Operations Group 8 (RSOG 8) and Catbalogan police station led by Insp. Constantino Jabonete, Jr.

The police regional chief added that the suspect was nabbed in his hide-out situated at the outskirts of same village, some two kilometers from the crime scene, at past 7:00 p.m. Sunday.

Soria added that the suspect, who is a native of Brgy. San Andres also in same city, has been residing in the area just about two months prior to the incident.

The victim was watching a cock fight in Catbalogan Gallera in Brgy. Lagundi, some five kilometers south of the city proper, at around 11 a.m. Sunday when the gunmen shot and hit the victim at the back and neck that went through his left cheek.

The suspects then joined two other companions who served as look-outs in fleeing towards the mountainous part of the village while the victim was rushed to the Samar Provincial Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

The 47-year old victim was employed at the local government unit of Catbalogan prior his death while his wife Allan currently serves as barangay chairperson of Lagundi.

Police recovered from the crime scene two fired cartridges of .45 caliber pistol and one fired cartridge from 9mm.

The victim was a known supporter of former Catbalogan City Mayor Coefredo Uy, who now sits as a city councilor, and was reportedly planning to regain his old post as village chair.

The detained suspect underwent a paraffin test Sunday evening as investigators also generated computerized composite facial sketches of remaining suspects based on eyewitnesses’ account that could help effect the arrest of the other suspects.

“Continuous investigation and manhunt operations are being conducted to identify and arrest Bañar’s cohorts,” Soria informed.





Cayetano asks Blue Ribbon to pursue all leads in PDAF scam

Go after Napoles properties and assets now

By Office of the Senate Majority Leader
October 1, 2013

PASAY CITY – “Let’s pursue all leads and search for the matter who or what will be exposed.”

As a step toward this, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano has asked the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations (Blue Ribbon Committee) to subpoena the Senate staff who were implicated in the pork barrel scam after being mentioned by whistleblowers during the previous hearing.

“I write to pursue leads provided by the whistleblowers so that the committee may gather more facts and be able to see the whole truth,” Cayetano said in a letter he sent Tuesday to panel chair Senator Teofisto Guingona III.

“We should leave no stone unturned. No special treatment must be accorded to any of the individuals implicated in the scam,” he added.

Go after Napoles properties, assets now

In the letter, the Majority Leader requested that a subpoena ad testificandum be issued for the senate staff and that invitations be sent to representatives of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Office of Ombudsman, Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration, and Land Registration Authority for the next Blue Ribbon hearing on pork barrel scam.

Cayetano said he wants to inquire from these people what the government is doing to preserve and recover properties “that are probably fruits of the crime” of Janet Napoles and others who were accused by the DoJ and National Bureau of Investigation team.

“Given that in many instances in the past, bank deposits have been withdrawn in accounts closed while other properties are sold, transferred, or disposed of, government must act now to ensure that I can still recover the people’s money,” he pointed out.

Likewise, he wants to determine if laws are adequate or amendments are needed on allowing alleged plunderers to leave the country before a warrant of arrest is issued.

Calling on the said individuals is in accordance with the Senate's determination to "dig deeper into the PDAF scam and pursue other leads in the investigation" while the subpoena for accused pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles remains unsettled.

"Having these people in the Senate investigation is indispensable in the search for truth and pursuit of justice," he said.






PRO8 Glock 17 pistols
PCSupt. Elmer R. Soria, PRO8 director (left), assisting PDir. Gil J. Hitosis of the PNP Directorate for Logistics (3rd from left) and Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari (2nd from left) in handing over brand-new Glock 17 pistol to a police recipient.

555 cops in EV receives brand new guns

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
September 30, 2013

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – Eastern Visayas top police official Police Chief Supt. Elmer R. Soria and Police Director Gil J. Hitosis, the Director for Logistics of the Philippine National Police, personally led the distribution of new handguns to police personnel in the region without issued sidearms.

In ceremonial distribution held at the Police Regional Office 8 Matapat Hall Monday, the top police officials handed over some 72 brand-new Glock 17 Generation 4 safe-action 9mm pistols to policemen who were pre-selected to receive the new service firearms.

“Our law enforcers, especially those who are deployed in the field and at the forefront of combating crime, can now better serve and protect the citizenry,” Soria said.

He informed that those with the ranks of Police Officers 1 to 3 were prioritized in the distribution after passing the training on firearms proficiency and maintenance conducted by the PNP Training Service - Regional Special Training Unit 8.

The PRO8 received 595 brand-new pistols under the PNP’s Capability Enhancement Program (CEP) from the initial 22,603 units distributed to police units nationwide as part of the first tranche of delivery which will be completed in April next year.

Forty of the new guns were used as training pistols while 555 were distributed to the different police offices in the region.

“The recent and future distribution will enable all active-duty personnel and future police recruits joining the PRO8 to be issued with service short firearms,” Soria informed.

Prior to the distribution of new hand guns, only 2,929 out of 6,193 police personnel in the region have issued short guns.

Soria added that the acquisition of the Glock pistols is considered the biggest procurement project in PNP history with 74,879 Glock guns for distribution to police units nationwide.

The Glock 17 has a market price of P40,940.00, but with the transparent conduct of the bidding process, the PNP got a better deal with the distributor that sold the guns for only P16,659.94 purchase price.

This saved the PNP an amount of P200,082.954.24 from the original P1.198 billion allocation that was used in buying additional 15,000 pieces of the same brand.

The Glock 17 pistol is the service firearm used by at least 65 percent of police forces and law enforcement agencies in the world including the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Swiss Army special forces.

It is the same weapon issued to British troops in Afghanistan in January for their personal protection and as a second armament in case their SA80 rifle fails.

Some 3,103 pairs of patrol shoes were also distributed to different provincial and city police offices to be used in patrol and crime-fighting activities by PNP field personnel.





Public participation for good governance

September 30, 2013

CEBU CITY – In the wake of the recent "pork" barrel scandal that shook the Philippine government and the nation, Filipinos are reminded on the importance of good governance, which integrate public awareness and participation in pursuit of political stability.

“We are still in our stage of infancy in good governance. Many Filipinos are still passive, lack the necessary maturity to act in accordance with our ideal principles in life,” Richard Fernandez, faculty of Political Science Department at the University of San Jose-Recoletos, said during the Sept. 21 episode of "Pagtuki", the official radio program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).

For Fr. Carmelo Diola, executive director of Dilaab Foundation Inc., good governance is an exercise of servant leadership on public or government affairs.

Diola added that in the country's journey towards good governance, technology, in the form of social media, is an advantage Filipinos can utilize.

Across the nation, the series of rallies decrying lawmakers' misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) is a manifestation of social media's impact to mass action in response to injustice.

Fernandez urged the people to actively participate in making things happen for the country. This he describes as political participation.

With political participation, Fernandez explained, accountability, responsibility, and transparency follows. He referred to Article 2 of the Philippine Constitution which states, “The power of the government emanates from the people.”

“When we speak of good governance, this includes everyone not only the officials. This is important if we want our goals realized,” Evelyn Nacario-Castro, executive director of RAFI’s Eduardo Aboitiz Developmental Studies Center (EADSC), commented.

Castro further explained that politics is created by people for their necessity and to promote their welfare. And if there is something people want to achieve collectively, then they themselves should make it happen.

“Our greatest asset, aside from the abundance of our natural resources, is our human resources. Filipinos are skilled, talented and people with capacity. If we can make things happen then we have the capability, but because of passivity then nothing happens. It’s time to take things seriously and participate,” Fernandez urged.

In the coming barangay elections, Diola encouraged the public to be discerning voters as this is an opportunity to practice good governance.

“Governance is too precious just to be left to public servants so people have to be involved,” Diola added.





Soria vows justice for police chief killed in Saturday evening ambush in Eastern Samar town

By RPCRD, Police Regional Office 8
September 30, 2013

CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The top police official in Eastern Visayas vowed justice for the two slain policemen, including a police commissioned officer, killed in an ambush by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) Saturday night.

PCSupt. Elmer R. Soria, chief of the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8), condemned the incident, labeling it as “senseless and treacherous.”

“This is a desperate act of the rebels to show that they are still a force to reckon with so they can justify their extortion activities especially with the coming barangay elections,” Soria said.

Soria immediately ordered pursuit operations to capture the fleeing rebels.

PInsp. Alberto Ayad, police chief of Arteche town in Eastern Samar, and two policemen were conducting mobile patrol operations when ambushed by undetermined number of suspected rebels at around 9:00 p.m. Saturday at the vicinity of Brgy. Central Elementary School.

Ayad sustained multiple gunshot wounds on different parts of his body and was killed in action.

Another policeman, PO1 July Juliata, also perished in the attack while PO3 Glorioso Nebril was critically wounded and was initially brought to Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital in Borongan City. He was later transferred to a hospital in Tacloban City.

The suspects failed to cart away the victims’ issued firearms, two M14 rifles and 2 9mm pistols, as they retreated upon sensing the arrival of responding policemen.

“PRO8 not only lost one of its most decorated officer but his family also lost a good husband and father,” the police regional chief added.

The slain police chief, a bemedalled cop, joined the Philippine National Police in 1995 and was commissioned as officer via lateral entry as member of “Rubasan” class of 2010.

Arteche is a third class town situated at northern part of Eastern Samar, some 130 kilometers from the provincial capital Borongan City and few kilometers away from the boundary to Northern Samar.

The ambush was perpetrated while the province was celebrating the 112th Balangiga Encounter Day that highlighted the heroism of Balangiganon against the American forces.

The attack transpired on the first day of election period as the police have started the implementation of the gun ban and intensified the conduct of operations against lawless elements that might disrupt the peace and order situation in Eastern Visayas.





Greenpeace, et al won Bt Talong’s last legal battle at the appellate court level

September 29, 2013

MANILA, Philippines – After one year and five months of legal battle on the Writ of Kalikasan against Bt Talong field trials, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed its earlier decision that uphold the right of Filipinos to a healthy and balanced ecology.

The 14-page CA resolution, dated 20 September 2013, vindicated the petitioners Greenpeace and Magsasaka at Siyentipiko sa Pagpapaunlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) along with 15 other individuals including former Sen. Orly Mercado and Rep. Teddy Casiño when they won the last legal battle on the Writ of Kalikasan on Bt Talong in the appellate level. CA upholds its decision and affirmed the arguments raised by the petitioners.

The case filed in April 2012 has undergone a series of debates which presented scientists and experts from both sides. In May 2013, the CA has earlier issued its decision ordering the respondents lead by University of the Philippines Los Baños Foundation (UPLBFI), University of the Philippines, Los Baños (UPLB), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to “permanently cease and desist from further conducting BT Talong field trials” and “protect, preserve, rehabilitate and restore the environment”.

Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director commented, "the ruling strongly validates our position regarding the hazards of open releases of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) such as Bt eggplant into the environment.” He stressed that the decision also vindicates Greenpeace against the malicious, aggressive and sustained attacks currently being waged by GMO pushers and their propagandists against the environmental group.

Calling on the government, Hernandez said, “this decision should enlighten our government not to waste public money in co-funding research on GM crops, which is not only harmful but would only benefit the corporate patent owners of the gene and technology. It must not also allow foreign biotechnology firms to dominate state university research; instead, support Filipino researchers in their work for safe, ecological and organic agriculture.”

The respondents have filed their motion for reconsideration in which the CA has denied and affirmed its earlier decision. Highlights of the Court of Appeals Resolution are:

1. University respondent, UPLB, could not find solace in the Constitutional provision on academic freedom. Like any other right, says CA, the right to academic freedom ends when the overriding public welfare calls for some restraint. It does not give UPLB unbridled freedom to conduct experimentation, studies & research that may put to risk the health of the people and the environment which are equally protected under our fundamental law. The court ordered to stop the field trial, not the research on Bt talong, and considered science creative enough to continue the research without releasing it to the environment.

2. The testing or introduction of Bt talong in the Philippines, by its nature and intent, is a grave and present danger to a balanced ecology because in any book and by any yardstick, it is an ecologically imbalancing event. Court emphasised the "chronic harm" (harm built up over time) that Bt talong might cause and the fact that it heard all the experts' testimonies which failed to settle the scientific uncertainties. It cited the study of Prof. Seralini "Food and Chemical Toxicology" September 20, 2012 which was undisputed when presented by the justices themselves in the hearing of experts. Hence, the proper application of the precautionary principle.

3. Court did not find any compelling reason in the 3 Motions for Reconsideration and 2 Replies by respondents to reverse or modify the Court's May 17, 2013 decision. Note that the May 17, 2013 decision granted the writs of kalikasan and continuing mandamus on the grounds:

a) there is no scientific consensus on the safety and impacts of Bt talong;

b) there is no Congressional enactment that governs introduction, release, experimentation of GM crops like Bt talong;

c) precautionary principle is applicable in the light of uncertainties and inadequacy/ineffectiveness or current regulatory system; and,

d) Bt talong, with its social, economic and environmental impacts, should not be entrusted to scientists only but should also involve all stakeholders.

Atty. Zelda Soriano, Political Advisor, Greenpeace Southeast Asia and lead counsel for the Writ of Kalikasan, emphasized the need for the respondents DENR and DA to prepare an immediate plan of action to rehabilitate the field trial sites and protect, preserve and conserve the environment as ordered by the court.

Soriano said, “it is also within the mandate of the departments of environment, agriculture and health to recommend policies and measures to reform the present regulatory process found by the court as incapable, ineffective, and inadequate to protect the constitutional rights of the Filipinos to health and balanced ecology. All of these, however, must be done in consultation and collaboration with stakeholders.”





NPA members surrender to 20IB

September 27, 2013

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City Samar  – A certain Jayson Francisco Lucban, alias Bunso/Jay, and Rosemarie Moreno Cadajas, alias LJ/Aira/Ai-Ai, Squad leader and member of the NPA Regional Strike Force, voluntarily surrendered to Lt Col Rey Anthony M Tumaliuan, Commanding Officer of 20th Infantry Battalion based at Barangay Magsaysay, Lope de Vega, Northern Samar on September 25, 2013.

During the initial interview conducted, the duo said that they decided to renounce their membership as NPAs because of the current government programs intended for former rebels.

Under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Peace Process (OPAPP), the two (2) surrenderees will receive P50,000 livelihood assistance and P15,000 immediate assistance. They will also receive another cash reward in exchange for whatever firearm they will surrender under the AFP Guns for Peace. In addition, they are also entitled to receive livelihood package from LGUs where they reside.

The relentless 8ID combat operations and Bayanihan Team Activities have triggered the surrender of NPA members causing demoralization among NPA ranks in the region with more NPA insurgents expected to surrender.

Brigadier General Jet B. Velarmino AFP, Commander of 8th Infantry Division said, “We welcome the return to the mainstream of the two (2) NPA members. These two former rebels will be provided financial and livelihood assistance as programmed by the government to make their reintegration in the mainstream easier. We also assure the security and well-being of everyone who will lay down his arms in the spirit of IPSP “Bayanihan” so that lasting Peace and sustainable development in Eastern Visayas will be attained.”



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