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NPA in Davao Frees Army Sergeant

Saturday, February 19, 2011

 NPA in Davao Frees Army Sergeant
Published on February 18, 2011

MANILA — The New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao released today a sergeant in the Philippine Army after it cleared him of “counter-revolutionary” activities, the guerrilla group said in a statement.
The Herminio Alfonso Command-Front 53 Operations Command of the New People’s Army in the Davao provinces said Master Sergeant Mario Veluz was released because he had “no direct culpability nor serious violations to the revolutionary movement.”.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/02/18/npa-in-davao-frees-army-sergeant/

One of Three Remaining Morong 43 Detainee Released

One of Three Remaining Morong 43 Detainee Released

“My happiness is not complete because two of the Morong 43 are still in jail and hundreds more political detainees are still suffering,” Edwin Dematera told Bulatlat shortly after he was released.

MANILA — One of the three remaining Morong 43 detainees, who was kept in jail on charges of rape and robbery filed against a supposed namesake, walked out of the Metro Manila District Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, Feb. 17, around 8:00 p.m.

Edwin Dematera, 39, was released after complainants to a robbery case filed before a local court in Las Pinas confirmed that he is not Edwin Bustamante, the accused.

The Morong 43 refers to the 43 health workers arrested on Feb. 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal. They were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives and were branded as members of the New People’s Army, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). On Dec. 17, 33 of the Morong 43 were released after the dismissal of charges against them by the local courts. Two more were released Dec. 28 and two others are still detained at Camp Bagong Diwa. The other five have remained under military custody at Camp Capinpin.

Dematera was kept in jail on charges against a supposed namesake. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
“My happiness is not complete because two of the Morong 43 are still in jail and hundreds more political detainees are still suffering,” Dematera told Bulatlat.com shortly after he was released.
Julius Garcia Matibag, national spokesman of the National Union of People’s Laywers (NUPL), said the two, Mario delos Reyes and Rogelio Villarisis have been slapped with non-bailable criminal charges, such as murder, in Mindoro.

There are 345 political detainees all over the county, according to the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Para sa Amnestiya at Laban sa Aresto (Selda).

Dematera was fetched by Matibag, Fr. Dionito Cabillas, Selda secretary general and two staff of Karapatan. Dematera’s wife and children are in Sorsogon, Bicol. His wife Lyn is expected to travel to Manila today, Feb. 18..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/02/18/one-of-three-remaining-morong-43-detainee-released/

CARP Lands in Tarlac City Being Claimed by Corporations

CARP Lands in Tarlac City Being Claimed by Corporations

A farmers’ group believes that this is a case of landgrabbing and speculation in anticipation of and preparation for the construction of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx). The group said that as the market value of lands around the superhighways are expected to skyrocket, business firms are trying to takeover farmlands even if it meant displacing farmers.

MANILA — Farmers in Balingcanaway, a village in Tarlac City, are gearing to go head-to-head against corporate interests encroaching on the 154-hectare agricultural estate they have been cultivating since 1997. Individuals with ties to popular fast food chain Pancake House are said to be claiming the lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

The Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance of Central Luzon) said that more than 52 farmers and their families have been cultivating the disputed land for over a decade. Many of them are also farmworkers from nearby barangays, and, because of their efforts, the land has yielded 100 to 120 cavans per hectare every harvest season. Balingcanaway is adjacent to a village called Cutcut, which is inside President Benigno Aquino III’s family-owned Hacienda Luisita.

According to the farmers, the land used to be planted with sugarcane and was administered by a certain Teresita Cruz who represented Valdez Estate.

When the land was taken over by the government through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in 1990, the farmers said, Cruz allegedly used her influence and money to pressure farmers to sell their Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs). This was supposedly done without the knowledge of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) office. The farmers were allowed to continue farming the land, but they had to pay P5,000 ($115) per hectare to Cruz. Through the years, the amount increased to P7,000 ($161) then to P10,000 ($230) in 2008.
In 2009, a certain Janette Peña and Bob Guinto arrived and claimed that they are the legal land owners. It was the first time that the farmers saw the two individuals and they had never heard of the land being sold or even leased to anyone else. They also knew that the land was registered and titled with the city, provincial and regional DAR offices.

The following year, on July 2010, about 50 armed guards under an agency headed by a retired colonel named Ronie Bonifacio, accompanied by local police led by a Commander Leonardo Taberdo, put up a barbed-wire fence around 60 hectares of the land. Armed guards also began to stand sentry around the fenced area. The guards frequently questioned the farmers every time they arrived to do their farming on the area not covered by the fence.

In the coming weeks, more restrictions were imposed. The guards began to block the irrigation system the farmers used.

The proposed Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx). (Image from skyscrapercity.com)

The farmers went to village officials to report what happened, but the local officials did nothing.
On August 17, 2010, the farmers petitioned DAR to re-allocate the CARP-covered lands to their names. On October 11, 2010, they requested the provincial DAR office to investigate the dispute. They also filed lawsuits of Forcible Entry with Damages before the local Municipal Trial Court against Peña and Guinto. The court issued a status quo order, allowing the farmers to continue cultivating their lands.

In a show of collective strength and solidarity, the farmers dismantled the barbed-wire fence on November 29, 2010. Their action was witnessed by village officials and local police, and two farmers were arrested. Commander Taberdo said the arrest was ordered by someone he called “Gen. Bonifacio.” Since Taberdo was unable to charge the farmers with anything, he was forced to release the two men after an hour even as the farmers threatened to file grave coercion and illegal detention charges against him..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/02/18/carp-lands-in-tarlac-city-being-claimed-by-corporations/

Ericson Acosta’s Journey from ‘Troublesome’ Artist to Political Detainee

To the military, Acosta is a terrorist as defined in the Aquino government’s military campaign Oplan Bayanihan. But to many friends and colleagues from the University of the Philippines, he is nothing of the sort. He is a poet, songwriter, and activist.
MANILA –  Two days before the resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),  the Armed Forces of the Philippine AFP captured an individual it later tagged as another  ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Acosta in a photo released to the media by the military.
In a report posted on the government-run Philippine Information Agency,  a spokesman of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division said that it apprehended and captured a certain Ericson Acosta in the vicinity of Barangay Bay-ang, San Jorge town in the province of Samar at 10 am on Feb. 13. The announcement came after reports that Alan Jasminez, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), was captured in Bulacan.

According to the report, which was based on military dispatches, a platoon from the 34th Infantry Battalion under a 2nd Lt. Jacob Madarang was conducting routine security patrol when they intercepted Acosta. Acosta , the military report said, was “acting suspiciously” as he prepared to board a pump boat toward the town proper. Acosta allegedly gave “conflicting and confusing answers” when questioned. The military also said that he “appeared nervous” and that he attempted to draw a hand grenade from his pocket.

At that point, the report went on to say, a soldier immediately grabbed Acosta’s arm and the explosive in his hand.

An informant has allegedly also squealed to the military that Acosta, 37, is originally from Cubao, Quezon City, and that he was working under the Instruction Bureau of the National Education Department of the CPP-NPA-NDF’s Central Committee.

According to the report quoting the informant, Acosta bears the alias August Lim and that he was in charge of producing various propaganda materials.

The military took from Acosta a  laptop with complete accessories and spare battery, an external hard drive, a USB dongle, a phone, six SIM cards, money amounting to P4,800, and various personal belongings..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/02/17/ericson-acosta%E2%80%99s-journey-from-%E2%80%98troublesome%E2%80%99-artist-to-political-detainee/

Squeezing the media EDITORIAL 02/19/2011

Squeezing the media

Click to enlarge
Shortly after former President Cory Aquino was seated in Malacañang, by virtue of an Edsa Revolt in 1986, the media in general went full yellow, protecting her to the core and reluctant to bring out the corruption going on. But there was at least one newspaper, The Daily Express, owned by sugar baron Roberto Benedicto, existing during the martial law reign of then President Ferdinand Marcos that turned opposition to Cory Aquino after the Revolt.

Cory, who claimed to uphold press freedom, promptly ordered the closure of The Daily Express, despite the pleas of the newspaper employees to buy the paper and operate it. Not a single mainstream yellow newspaper then during the year Cory Aquino was absolute dictator, having been the sole government and the sole law, criticized or denounced Cory Aquino for the very same thing Marcos did to the Manila Times and the Chronicle during the martial law years, when Marcos also wielded dictatorial powers. Worse, no yellow newspaper even fought against the closure of the opposition paper, if only over the principle of press freedom. Because freedom of the press is not only for the newspapers that are pro-administration, but those critical of the government..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110219com1.html

Contradicted FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 02/19/2011


Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Ping Lacson, in an e-mail to media, claimed that apart from having been given a high limit credit card as the new Philippine National Police (PNP) for his personal and official use, along with a monthly gasoline allowance that could fill up 50 vehicles, there was an annual P40 million “commander’s reserve” fund given during the Estrada government, which he clearly insinuated was reserved for him to do as he pleased but which he said he refused to avail himself of the funds and gave it all to his comptroller for the troops.

Evidently, he was trying to make himself look good and clean and at the same time, probably link the then president, Erap Estrada, to the PNP version of the pabaon and pasalubong practice that is now the subject of the Senate inquiry into the military corruption.

It will be recalled that over a year ago, he delivered a privilege speech against Estrada while admitting that he did that speech to make Estrada look bad, and get the voters to reject the former President who was then running for the presidency, the second time around.

This was the time when Lacson was being charged with being the brains behind the Dacer-Corbito murder case..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110219com2.html

Afghan transition raises questions over aid focus 02/19/2011

Afghan transition raises questions over aid


MEHTAR LAM — With its busy stalls selling everything from floral garlands to solar panels, the market in Mehtar Lam is proof of what Western-backed aid projects can do in Afghanistan, officials say.

Halfway between Kabul and the Pakistani border, where the Taliban have rear bases, the strategically important town in the eastern province of Laghman is seen as relatively safe, although insurgents lurk in nearby hills and valleys.

Like 27 other towns across the country, Mehtar Lam has a Western-led provincial reconstruction team (PRT) working on projects such as roads, which officials say stimulate market trade, and even artificial cattle insemination.

But with Nato troops due to hand control of security to Afghan forces by 2014, President Hamid Karzai said this month that PRTs must leave because they are hampering Afghanistan’s efforts to improve governance for itself..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110219com3.html

P740M bared in Ligot’s 10 bank accounts By Angie M. Rosales 02/19/2011

P740M bared in Ligot’s 10 bank accounts

By Angie M. Rosales 02/19/2011
Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) comptroller Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot allegedly stashed away in 10 identified banks P740 million which was accumulated over a period of four years. But it has been been estimated also that he had kept at a minimum 17 bank accounts in the names of some dummies.

What proved surprising to Senate probers yesterday was the revelation that Ligot has not been charged with plunder nor even charged with graft and corruption and that it was merely a case of forfeiture against Ligot and only two houses in California, USA were included in the forfeiture case despite the Ligots apparently owning at least 8 houses in the US.

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez allegedly did not lift a finger in filing a plunder case despite personal notification by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) as early as three years ago.

Her special prosecutors, however, stated before the Senate that Gutierrez never received that AMLC document..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110219hed1.html

Cimatu denies P10 million monthly cash, but ex-AFP chief’s aide admits receipt 02/19/2011

Cimatu denies P10 million monthly cash, but ex-AFP chief’s aide admits receipt

A former executive assistant of then Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff and now special envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu yesterday admitted receiving P10 million monthly from Col. George Rabusa as a form of “support administrative requirement” of Cimatu’s office, despite Cimatu’s denial that he never got the money.

Brig. Gen. Benito de Leon, who served as Cimatu’s chief aide from May to September 2002, during a Senate inquiry into the military fund scam, said he informed his boss about the money and was instructed to ensure proper use and liquidation, consistent with their accounting and auditing procedures.

He added he reluctantly accepted the money but received it anyway from Rabusa which was accompanied with a receipt that he even signed.

Countered by Rabusa, during interrogation by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, the former claimed it was actually De Leon who sought for the amount supposedly on behalf of Cimatu and picked it up in his office..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110219hed2.html

VP Binay meets with China’s top SC judge; clemency unlikely By Michaela P. del Callar 02/19/2011

VP Binay meets with China’s top SC judge; clemency unlikely

By Michaela P. del Callar 02/19/2011

Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and his official delegation who deplaned in Beijing yesterday were welcomed by Chinese officials, with Binay scheduled to meet the President of the People’s Republic of China’s Supreme Court where the delegation will likely plead for clemency for the three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking, two of whom are to be executed by Monday, with another convicted drug mule on Tuesday.

In his departure statement, Binay said he was instructed by President Aquino to appeal for clemency for the three countrymen on death row.

“Our Embassy in Beijing informed me this visit is a special consideration for the Philippines, in view of the close friendship between our two countries and peoples. We thank the Government of the People’s Republic of China for accommodating our request to make this last plea on behalf of these three Filipinos and their families.

“We were informed that the three Filipino drug traffickers have been sentenced in accordance with China’s law. The Philippine Government respects the decision of the Chinese courts,” he said, stressing that the Philippine goevernment does not condone drug trafficking, but that they believe these Filipinos were merely victims of international drug syndicates..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110219hed3.html

Malacañang clueless on Romulo’s exit By Michaela P. del Callar and Aytch S . de la Cruz 02/19/2011

Malacañang clueless on Romulo’s exit

By Michaela P. del Callar and Aytch S . de la Cruz 02/19/2011

Even as Malacañang disclaimed reports on the exit of Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, it insisted that his departure has not been formalized even as he has taken an indefinite leave of absence from his position.

But DFA spokesman Eduardo Malaya had already announced earlier that Romulo formally had taken an indefinite of absence, with Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio designated as the department’s acting secretary until Romulo’s successor to the post is formally appointed by President Aquino.

Malaya said Romulo filed for an indefinite leave Friday. Businessman Albert del Rosario, former Philippine Ambassador to the US under then President Gloria Arroyo, will reportedlytake over the helm of the DFA

But Malacañang yesterday rejected speculations that the DFA is functioning as a headless organization following the departure of its Romulo, whom Aquino has broadly hinted would be transferred to another governent agency..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110219hed4.html

FoI proponent caves in to Palace, to revisit key provisions of info bill 02/19/2011

FoI proponent caves in to Palace, to revisit key provisions of info bill

The main author of the Freedom of Information (FoI) bill has given in to pressure from Malacañang as he now expresses support for another look at the proposed measure which is being passed off as designed to give the public easier access to information held by the government.

The FoI bill narrowly missed being passed during the 14th Congress after the House of Representatives failed to ratify the bicameral conference report contrary to what the Senate did, prompting advocates to refile it in the 15th Congress.

Most of the measures filed in both chambers of Congress adopt the bicameral version in full. The proposed legislation, however, was not included in the initial list of bills Malacañang wants the legislature to prioritize due to certain concerns.

Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada, the main author of the FoI bill, said he and other
supporters of the measure are amenable to looking at what changes might be needed to somehow address Malacañang’s concerns..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110219hed5.html

Alumni group tightens rules on PMA adoptees By Mario J. Mallari 02/19/2011

Alumni group tightens rules on PMA adoptees

By Mario J. Mallari 02/19/2011

The Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. has barred the adoption of honorary members by individual PMA classes to get rid of the “hidden agenda” in the adoption by implementing stricter criteria and processes that must pass through the PMAAAAI board.

No less than Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has discouraged President Aquino, also the Commander-in-Chief, from accepting invitation from any PMA class to become an honorary member.

“The alumni board passed a resolution prohibiting the adoption of honorary members of individual classes. What will be acceptable is the adoption of honorary members to the alumni association itself,” Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman Eduardo Batac said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110219hed6.html

Jazmines’ arrest to sabotage peace talks — CPP By Mario J. Mallari 02/19/2011

Jazmines’ arrest to sabotage peace talks — CPP

By Mario J. Mallari 02/19/2011

The Communist Party of the Philippines has branded the arrest of the CPP Central Committee member Alan Jazmines as an attempt by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to sabotage the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The CPP, in a statement, stressed that Jazmines is included in the list of personalities covered by the Joint Agreement for Safety and Immunity Guarantee (Jasig) under the assumed name Dodi Lapida. The military tagged Jazmines as a member of the CPP Central Committee.

“Jazmines is a holder of a Document of Information with reference number 978213 under the assumed name Dodi Lapida issued by the NDFP in accordance with the Jasig arrangement. Under the agreement, holders of Jasig-DIs are guaranteed rights against surveillance, arrest and detention in order to allow them to carry out their work as peace consultants unhampered,” the CPP stated.

“In carrying out the arrest of Jazmines, the AFP has shown utter contempt of the Jasig and the peace negotiations,” said the CPP..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110219nat9.html

RP should retaliate against China By Gerry Baldo 02/19/2011


RP should retaliate against China

By Gerry Baldo 02/19/2011

The Philippine government should have a leverage against the Chinese in the case of the three Filipinos meted the death penalty by doing the same to Chinese fishermen caught destroying marine life within the country’s political boundary.

A former congressman who is now the governor of Palawan yesterday proposed that the Aquino government should also execute Chinese fishermen poaching within our waters.

According to Palawan Gov. Abraham Mitra, the Philippine government should not hesitate to execute Chinese fishermen if the three Filipinos convicted for drug-related offenses will be executed.

“If the Chinese government does not listen to pleas of P-Noy and Vice President (Jejomar Binay) and they will continue to execute three Filipinos then we should retaliate and also execute Chinese fishermen who destroy our marine resources with illegal and destructive ways of fishing,” Mitra said in a text message yesterday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110219nat2.html

Aquino cancels scheduled engagements due to fever By Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/19/2011

Aquino cancels scheduled engagements due to fever

By Aytch S. de la Cruz 02/19/2011

President Aquino yesterday canceled his scheduled engagements and took the whole time to rest nursing a fever he might have sustained when he visited the province of Jolo, Sulu last week, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte told reporters.

Valte said Aquino has been under the weather since Thursday in which he also canceled some of the activities slated for him to attend that day including his meetings with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino and 17 city mayors in the morning and the economic cluster by the afternoon.

The Palace official added Aquino was supposed to grace a courtesy call with some legislators and a private meeting before he attended the induction of the Advertising Board of the Philippines’ new set of officers at Malacañang’s Rizal Hall the other day.

“I think he [Aquino] is still under the weather. I believe he has canceled all of his engagements today…I’m told that he still does not feel all too well,” Valte said at a news briefing..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110219nat10.html

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