Federalism and the rebels

>> Monday, May 30, 2016

March Fianza

Even while former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., PDP-Laban Founder and his son Koko said that those who wish to join the party should at least be supporters of Federalism, many of our congressmen and senators are more inclined to “jump ship” for survival, not for espousing President-elect Duterte’s aspiration to decentralize the powers in Malacanang.
Understandably, the welfare of a provincial district under a congress representative is first and foremost consideration than party affiliation which comes next. If you ask the experts, they will say that politicians in the Philippines do not seriously belong to party systems as politicians time and again transfer from one party to another.
In short, the country does not have a serious party system because parties in the Philippines are loose alliances that usually ignore ideologies since they are based on personalities, not on issues. As this article goes to press, politicians are now busy negotiating for their transfer to PDP-Laban.
That is the catch. In exchange for the usual comfort that administration politicians get, what is important to the new dispensation is to form a majority in the senate and lower house that will help Duterte’s “administration for change”.
It is also a different political scenario this time. Founded in 1982 by Nene Pimentel, the PDP-Laban is pushing for Federalism. Ka Nene is known as one who fights on the floor for his proposals. The more questions are fielded, the more he likes it because he knows that by being able to parry all the questions, his measure will pass.
Take for example his fight to have the Local Government Code of 1991 signed into law. Although, the law does not offer all the powers to LGUs today, there are enough provisions that help them survive. The elder Pimentel believes that Federalism can strengthen the local government code and will empower more the LGUs.
Every concerned politician knows that the country today exists under a centralized form of government where the central government in Imperial Manila controls the most power and resources. Leaders, especially those in the Visayas and Mindanao gladly want this revised since they and their constituents are the most affected in terms of sharing the national wealth.
Federalism, according to those who support the idea, is seen as the best political tool for the “all-out search for peace” in Mindanao and the rest of the country that can be employed with the help of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front and other ideological organizations.
Duterte and PDP-Laban want a change in government-style in the Philippines. They believe that Federalism will solve the peace and order problem in Mindanao. It is the country’s island group that has been troubled by a four-decade on and off Muslim conflict.
With “change” in mind, Duterte seemingly agitated the nerves of common officials and communist leaders after announcing that he was offering public positions to the latter. This is not the first time that the public saw Duterte’s extreme moves and comments as he has shown these on and off stage during the campaign. I think we better get used to our new President.
  The posts that were offered to communist leaders were secretary for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
I agree that before these posts are again occupied by “NPAs”, I mean the “Non-Performing Assets”, let these positions be headed by the real NPAs or left leaning friends, including the posts for regional directors. By putting a director of their kind, they might also stop marching down Session Road.
I read somewhere that Luis Jalandoni, chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front said that the Communist Party of the Philippines and NDF has already prepared a list of nominees to the positions because Duterte’s offer “shows his trust and confidence in the CPP, NPA and the NDF”.
If only we were given the opportunity to recommend, I know of some people from the left in the Cordillera who are really fit for the open positions. I wish these friends get the right connections to President Duterte.  
But as to laying down their arms, our friends in the mountains will surely think twice. Their move will depend on the results of a soon to be reopened peace negotiations between the two parties. That, we have to wait and see.
Happy sixth year Birthday to Ponzee.


Conservation versus restoration

Ike SeƱeres

I checked the meanings of patrimony and heritage and I was pleasantly surprised that these two words are practically synonymous to each other. Patrimony is anything that is inherited from a parent or ancestor, and heritage is anything that becomes property to a person by virtue of birth. As it is defined however, the concept of patrimony could apply to both persons and nations, hence the legal fiction of having national patrimony. Similarly, the concept of heritage could also apply to persons and nations, hence also the legal fiction of having national heritage.
Broadly defined, the concepts of national patrimony and national heritage could be applied not only to property, but anything of value to a nation, such as the environment and its natural resources, including its wildlife. This is where the concept of conservation becomes relevant, a concept that is also closely related to preservation. When used in a synonymous manner, both conservation and preservation would apply to the sustainability of both the national patrimony and the national heritage.
In theory, both conservation and preservation could not happen if the patrimony or heritage is already damaged, hence the relevance of restoration in this overall equation. In a manner of speaking, conservation could apply to assets that are practically untouched or undamaged; hence the applicable objective is to conserve these assets in the original or existing state of being. In contrast however, preservation could apply to assets that may already be damaged to some extent, but could still be repaired to a condition that would be close to its original state of being.
It seems that there are really no hard and fast rules that would define what restoration really means, but in this context, I would volunteer to define it as any action that would bring back any asset to a renewed state of being, even if it means reconstructing it back from a virtual state of non-existence, or perhaps even reproducing it, just like reproducing an antique or vintage piece of furniture, in such a way that it would look like the original. To some extent, this could be like reconstructing a building from within so that it looks like the original from the outside, even if it would have new re-enforcements from the inside.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 13 of the United Nations is about “Climate Action”. Although the specifics about reducing air pollution is somehow lost in the complexity of the goal targets, it is very clear that the bottom line of this goal is to reduce carbon emissions in such a way that air quality is restored to its original state that is clean air. SDG number 14 is about “Life below water”. The specifics may not also be spelled out in this goal, but it also very clear that the bottom line of this goal is to be able to conserve or preserve all life forms below the water, and restoring what may have been lost already. SDG number 15 is about “Life on land”. Just like SDG number 14, the bottom line is to conserve, preserve or restore all life forms on land.
It goes without saying that in order to conserve or preserve all life forms below the water, we must first clean the river itself. The good news is that the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) has already set a goal to restore river water quality to “Class C” level; although it seems that they have not set a clear deadline for that. Although that goal is very challenging, it is not at all impossible. Even with all the apparent optimism, it appears that they still have a long way to go, because the Pasig River was declared biologically dead in the 1990s.
Being biologically dead, there is no alternative but to restore the Pasig River to its original state, so that once again, it could support and sustain life below the water, in compliance with SDG number 14. Although the PRRC could have set a higher goal, it is a realistic goal and it is already a good start. Obviously, the “Class C” level does not mean that it is already drinkable, but that is good enough, for as long as the fish could already come back. Once it is restored, it would already be a happy problem to conserve and preserve it for the future generations.
Starting this month, the Pasig River Ferry charter service will resume its operations. Hopefully, the passenger service will also resume soon, because the passenger ferry terminals along the river are still in good condition. As it is now, the ferry rides are available to the public by way of special trips that are organized by private tour operators. As expected, some pessimists might say that it is not worth taking the ferry rides because the river is dirty and smelly.
That should not be a problem however, because the ferries are all air conditioned and are also fully enclosed. On the optimistic side however, some private operators are already organizing tours for groups that are concerned about the environment, so that they could see for themselves how dirty and smelly the river is, so that they could do something about it.
Sad to say, there are some people who think that the Laguna Lake, the Pasig River and the Manila Bay are hopelessly polluted, and there is no way to bring these water bodies back to life. The facts would prove them wrong however, because there are countless numbers of water bodies in other countries that have already been brought back from the dead. As it is now, there are many technologies that could already be used to restore all of our dead rivers back to life, but what is lacking is our political will to make it happen. Sad to say, the conservation and preservation of our environment seems to be very low in the agenda of our politicians, but that could also change as the public clamor to do it would also grow, with the powerful combination of the mass media and the social media. Email bantaygobyerno-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or text +639956441780


Now, let the healing begin

By Val G. Abelgas

The people have spoken.
Based on initial results from the Commission on Elections, the tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is on his way to landslide victory in the May 9 presidential elections and will thus become the country’s president starting noon of June 30.
As of this writing, Duterte was leading administration candidate Mar Roxas by more than six million votes, so far the highest margin of victory in a presidential election held under the 1987 Constitution, higher than President Benigno S. Aquino III’s lead of 5.7 million over former President Joseph Estrada in 2010. Percentage-wise, however, Aquino’s 42.08 percent share remains the highest in the post-martial law era.
With almost 74 percent of the votes counted and his margin further increasing with new votes coming in, there is no way Roxas or independent candidate Grace Poe can catch up or even close in on Duterte.
Realizing the inevitable and in a class act, Poe conceded defeat to Duterte and promised to help in the healing process for a nation that was for months leading to the election has been severely divided by one of the, if not the most contentious presidential election in recent Philippine history.
“Binabatikosi Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at ipinapangako ko ang aking pakikiisasa paghilom ng ating bayan at pakikiisa ng ating mga kababayan tungo sa patuloyna pag-unlad ng ating bansa,” said Poe, who lived in the United States long enough to witness losing candidates conceding within minutes of the tabulation.
Poe’s running mate, Sen. ChizEscudero, followed suit and conceded defeat in the vice presidential contest, where Liberal Party candidate Camarines Sur Rep. LeniRobredo was nursing a slim 100,000-vote lead over independent Sen. Bongbong Marcos. This contest was headed to a photo finish.
Escudero, who led in surveys in the early part of the campaign, was languishing in fourth behind Robredo, Marcos and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes, who was in distant fifth and who tormented Duterte in the last week of the campaign with allegations of hidden wealth against the Davao mayor, conceded Duterte has won the election “clearly and convincingly” and pledged that he would not stand in the way of reforms to be initiated by Duterte.
“I respect the will of the Filipino people. They have spoken clearly and resoundingly that they want Mayor Duterte to be our next president,” Trillanes said. “I assure the Mayor and our countrymen that I will not be a hindrance to the reform initiatives he intends to push in our government.”
These are class acts shown by Poe, Escudero and Trillanes and I hope that the other losing candidates would follow suit and make their covenant with the people to respect their voice and contribute to the long healing process that should follod this naturally divisive democratic process.
“Voxpopuli, vox Dei.” The voice of the people is the voice of God. The “bosses” have spoken resoundingly and unequivocally.
President Aquino should lead officialdom in respecting the voice of the people, whom the outgoing president has repeatedly called his “bosses.” The President, who staked his legacy by declaring that this election is a referendum on his “daangmatuwid” governance, is the biggest loser in this contest because Duterte’s victory is a clear and resounding rebuke of his claim that he is the best president the country has ever had in terms of solid achievements.
Aquino stomped the campaign trail to pitch for Roxas and Robredo and his “daang matuwid” governance. When it became obvious that Duterte was headed to victory, Aquino called on Roxas and Poe to agree to unite to stop the Davao mayor. But neither Roxas nor Poe, understandably, was willing to withdraw after going through a grueling campaign.
Aquino should make up for his loss of face with a magnanimous act by leading his party mates in congratulating Duterte for the victory and pledging to help heal the nation.
I hope that Aquino and his Liberal party mates would be gracious in defeat and not initiate any plot to defy the people’s voice, such as seeking to disqualify Duterte on technicality. Remember that the Comelec decided to overlook the fact that the Davao mayor substituted for PDP-Laban party mate Martin Dino, who for some reason wrote in his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) that he was running for Pasay mayor instead of for president.
There is a chance that Roxas, on the prodding of Aquino, may file a protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), a judicial-legislative body that has exclusive jurisdiction over presidential electoral protests. The tribunal could declare Roxas the winner by the PET based on this technicality.
While this may have legal basis, I hope that Roxas and Aquino would respect the voice of the people or his “bosses.” Voxpopuli, vox Dei.
With the victory of Duterte and Robredo, who may both be considered political outsiders because of their lack of national exposure and nationwide base, the people have shown their despise for traditional politics or for the way the government has been run by the usual elective officials for decades.
The election has also shown that the voters are now more independent-minded and more conscientious about their votes as shown by the surprise ascent to the top of the Senate race by TESDA chief Joel Villanueva, the victories of independents Dick Gordon, MigsZubiri and RisaHontiveros, and the poor performance of showbiz/TV celebrities like Alma Moreno, Mark Lapid, Edu Manzano and Rey Langit.
After months of acrimonious campaign that has divided families and friends as can be gleaned from the unending debates in the social media, it is paramount that the winners focus on healing the nation. No more exchange of threats and expletives. The winners should show they are magnanimous in victory and the losers that they can be gracious in defeat. This should include the candidates’ supporters.

The people have spoken. Let us all respect that.(valabelgas@aol.com)


Pol clans, old, new faces win Cordi, Ilocos, Reg 2, CL polls

>> Friday, May 20, 2016

There were new faces, but veterans and members of political families dominated local elections in Northern Luzon.
Baguio winners
In Baguio City, the Commission on Elections proclaimed Tuesday at the Baguio Convention Center election winners with Rep. Nicasio Aliping, Jr. losing his congressional seat to businessman Mark Go of the Nacionalista Party in Baguio City.
Go, in his second attempt at the post, defeated Aliping with votes totaling 45,687 over the incumbent’s 40,766.
City Election Officer John Paul Martin proclaimed the winners before noon.
Incumbent Mayor Mauricio Domogan maintained his post along with Vice Mayor Edison Bilog.
Retired judge Edilberto Claravall and  Jose Molintas vied for the mayorship but voters opted for incumbent Domogan. 
In the 12 member slate for the Sangguniang Panglungsod, Atty. Edgar Avila (UNA) led the unofficial results with 51,315 votes, followed by Roberto Ortega (UNA) with 51,304; councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. (LP) with 51,562 votes; Joel Alangsab (LP) with 50,023 votes; and Faustino Olowan (NPC) with 49,109 votes; Elmer Datuin (UNA) with 46,525 votes; Mylen Yaranon (LP) with 45,378 votes; Elaine Sembrano (UNA) with 44,356 votes; Peter Fianza (Ind) with 41,438 votes; Lilia Farinas (UNA) with 39,295 votes; Arthur Allad-iw (LP) with 38,756 votes; and Benny Bomogao (UNA) with 34,965 votes
In La Trinidad, the capital town of Benguet called “Salad Bowl and Strawberry Capital of the Philippines,” incumbent Vice Mayor Romeo Saldo beat former mayor Greg Abalos and incumbent Mayor Edna Tabanda for the mayoralty.
Jovencio Marrero won the vice mayoral seat.
For the congressional seat of Benguet, incumbent Rep. Ronald Cosalan was proclaimed winner for the same post against Gov. Nestor Fongwan.
In the gubernatorial race, Cresencio Pacalso won over Nelson Dangwa.
In Abra, JB Bernos was leading the congressional race with 49,745 votes with Marco Bautista far behind with 13,594 votes.
In Ifugao, incumbent Rep. Teddy Baguilat already had 47,975 votes against Solomon Chungalao with 38,087 votes.
For the governorship, the race was tight with Pedro Maya-o garnering 21,382 votes; Eugene Balitang with 20,536 votes; and Jonathan Cuyahon with 20,171 votes.
In Kalinga, Allen Jesse Mangaoang leads with 41,080 votes against CTL Lammawin with 25,418 votes for congressional representative.
Gov. Jocel Baac, on the other hand, headed for victory with 35,688 over closest rival, Conrado Dieza, with 19,798 votes.
In Apayao, unopposed congresswoman Eleonor Bulut-Begtang garnered 34,652 votes while unopposed Governor Elias Bulut, Jr. had 35,222 votes.
Central Luzon
Meanwhile, among three new governors of Central Luzon were Amor Deloso of Zambales, Susan Yap-Sulit of Tarlac and Abet Garcia of Bataan – who were proclaimed by the Comelec Tuesday. .
Deloso defeated Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. while Sulit won against Tarlac Mayor Ace Manalang.
Four other members of the Garcia clan won the elections in Bataan, including Enrique Garcia as congressman of the second district and Balanga Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia of the second district.
The Comelec also proclaimed Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda, who ran unopposed, as well as Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado and Aurora Gov. Gerardo Noveras.
Pangasinan pols
In Pangasinan, Gov. Amado Espino was elected congressman of the fifth district.
Third district Rep. Rosemarie Arenas and Leopoldo Bataoil of the second district also won in their reelection bids.
Christopher “Toff” de Venecia of the Liberal Party, son of former House speaker Jose de Venecia and Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia, was proclaimed congressman of the fourth district of Pangasinan.
De Venecia garnered 92.5 percent of the 170,916 votes cast based on partial, unofficial results.
Vice Gov. Jose Ferdinand Calimlim was also proclaimed as the reelected vice governor of Pangasinan by the Provincial Board of Canvassers.
Calimlim won his third and final term office at the expense of his lone opponent Calasiao town mayor Mark Roy Macanlalay, winning by just 5,808 votes.
Calimlim ran with Board Member Amado Espino III, son and namesake of Gov. Amado Espino, who was proclaimed Wednesday as the newly-elected governor of Pangasinan.
Both Espino and Calimlim ran under the party Aksyon Demokratiko. Macanlalay ran with defeated gobernatorial candidate Mark Cojuangco under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
The proclamation of Calimlim came after the last and final certificate of canvass from San Fabian was transmitted to the Provincial Board of Canvassers where the incumbent vice governor also won against his opponent.
San Fabian has more than 46,000 voters, that was why it meant a lot for the two vice gubernatorial candidates.
Also proclaimed today are the winning candidates for board member in the fourth district of Pangasinan, Dr. Jeremy Agerico Rosario and reelectionist Liberato Villegas.
Calimlim won his third and final term office at the expense of his lone opponent Calasiao town mayor Mark Roy Macanlalay, winning by just 5,808 votes.
Calimlim ran with Board Member Amado Espino III, son and namesake of Gov. Amado Espino, who was proclaimed Wednesday as the newly-elected governor of Pangasinan.
Both Espino and Calimlim ran under the party Aksyon Demokratiko. Macanlalay ran with defeated gobernatorial candidate Mark Cojuangco under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
The proclamation of Calimlim came after the last and final certificate of canvass from San Fabian was transmitted to the Provincial Board of Canvassers where the incumbent vice governor also won against his opponent.
San Fabian has more than 46,000 voters, that was why it meant a lot for the two vice gubernatorial candidates.
Also proclaimed today are the winning candidates for board member in the fourth district of Pangasinan, Dr. Jeremy Agerico Rosario and reelectionist Liberato Villegas.
Padaca loses to Dy
Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III won by 250,000 votes against former Commission on Elections commissioner Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca.
Dy of the Nationalist People’s Coalition got 416,037 votes compared to Padaca’s 131,049 votes.
Padaca conceded defeat, but said she did not regret running because she wanted to give the voters of Isabela an option.
Dy’s runningmate Antonio Albano got 380,333 votes. Albano’s brother Rodolfo III also won as congressman in the first district of Isabela.
Ortegas, Abad
The Ortegas still hold power in La Union after seven of their 11 candidates emerged as winners.
Among them are San Fernando Mayor Pablo Ortega, who won as congressman in the first district and Abono party-list Rep. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III, who won as governor.
Meanwhile, most of the winners in the local elections were either reelectionists or those who ran for other positions because they are on their third and final term.
In Mabalacat, Pampanga Mayor Marino Morales, reputed to be the longest serving mayor in the country, continued his winning streak. 
Morales got 40,174  votes while his closest rival Board Member Crisostomo Garbo got 17,710.
Morales has been mayor of Pampanga for 21 years now as despite the electoral protests filed by his opponents since the 1995 elections. 
Ilocos Norte
In Ilocos Norte, the Torralbas, a political family that have been dominating Badoc town for over the past 15 years lose their grip on power based on results of the canvassing of votes in Monday’s elections.
Vice Mayor Thomas “Tom” Torralba lost in the city’s mayoral race to rival Mayor-elect Maximo Cajigal, a former city councilor and former president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC).
In the vice mayoral race, Torralba’s wife, Arlene who run unopposed as mayor in previous elections suffered her first electoral defeat to Cajigal’s running mate, Alwyn Rubio.
The Torralbas, known as long-time ally of the Marcoses, enjoyed swapping positions as mayor and vice mayor from 2001 to 2010.
Gov. Imee Marcos of the Nacionalista Party however backed the Cajigal-Rubio tandem in the 2016 elections, who received overwhelming support from voters.
Cajigal and Rubio were officially proclaimed as the new mayor and vice mayor of Badoc town by the poll body on Tuesday. – Reports from Philippines News Agency, wires and Kristine Daguno-Bersamina


Mountain Province officials proclaimed; Mayaen daughter now ‘gov’ despite Comelec rule

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Provincial Board of Canvassers proclaimed Tuesday winning candidates for various provincial elective posts.
Proclaimed winners who shall start their mandate on July are led by unopposed congressional bet Maximo Dalog, Sr., unopposed gubernatorial candidate lawyer Kathy Jill Mayaen Luis and re-electionist vice governor Bonifacio Lacwasan who won over Albert Paday-os.
Dalog snared 50,388 votes, while Mayaen received 48,146 votes in favor of his daughter.
Luis is the daughter of the late Mountain Province Gov. Leonard Mayaen who filed her certificate of candidacy as substitute candidate following the death of her father before last Monday’s elections was proclaimed winner of the gubernatorial race Tuesday night.
Gov. Mayaen was running for reelection unopposed until he expired a month before last Monday’s elections.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial officer Elenita Julia Tabangin-Capuyan said they were supposed to do the proclamation on the evening of May 9 but postponed it due to the delayed transmission of results from one municipality.
Capuyan said the board of canvassers decided to proclaim Luis even as the en banc’s decision on her certificate of candidacy (COC) as a substitute for her father is still pending.
“I can’t believe it happened. We proclaimed Atty. Mayaen (Luis) for governor of Mt. Province. The vice chair and member voted to proclaim, but I voted to seek the consent of the commission first before proclaiming, but I was outvoted,” Capuyan said.
On March 31, Gov. Mayaen suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. He was an independent candidate running unopposed for his third term.
His daughter filed her COC on May 5 based on the provision of Comelec Resolution 8894, Section 19 stating that an independent candidate who dies can be substituted by a relative with the same surname.
Kathy’s COC was immediately transmitted to the law department of the Comelec head office in Manila, which has yet to act on the matter.
Comelec chairman Andres Bautista earlier told Baguio newsmen the Comelec en banc had decided not to allow any substitution for the late Mayaen.
Legal quarters however said he case could be elevated to he Supreme Court which could decide with finality on the matter.
Meanwhile Given a three year reign for the provincial legislative body are Raul Lapon, Stephen Afuyog, Carino Tamang, and Alfonso Kiat-on, Sr. for the first district and Francis Tauli, Romeo Pagedped, Donato Danglose, and Salvador Dalang for the second district.
In the municipal level, three unopposed, two re-electionists, four first timers, and one returning mayoral contenders were likewise proclaimed. The unopposed candidates include Franklin Odsey of Bontoc, Johnson Bantog II of Besao and Anthony Wooden of Tadian.
In Bauko, incumbent mayor Abraham Akilit survived a close contest against former mayor Simon Lacwasan to serve his second term in the province’s most populated town.
On the eastern part of the province, Natonin mayor Mateo Chiyawan won a three cornered fight to secure his third consecutive term.
Paracelis mayor Gavino Bucok was not as lucky as he lost his re-election bid to former mayor Avelino Amangyen while mayor Clark Ngaya of Barlig failed to rewrite history when he relinquished his seat to incumbent vice mayor Genesis Changilan.
In the political history of Barlig, no sitting mayor won a second term.   
In one of the most closely watched contest, former National Bureau of Investigation regional director Jose Limmayog, Jr. derailed the bid of  incumbent Sadanga mayor Gabino Ganggangan for a third term.
Winning the mayoralty contest in the tourist town of Sagada is neophyte politician James Pooten, Jr. who lorded it over engineer Andres Aclayan. In Sabangan, Venancio Lipawen will take the reign from graduating mayor Donato Danglose who won a seat at the provincial board.
Proclaimed vice mayors for the province’s ten municipalities are Eusebio Kabluyen (Bontoc), June Lopsoten (Besao), Alfonso Polan (Tadian), Bartolo Badecao (unopposed, Bauko), Fernandez Linggayo (Natonin), Lorenzo Carpio (Paracelis), David Osborn Fomocod (Barlig),  Joseph Apopot (Sadanga), Ben Capuyan (Sagada) and Dario Esden (Sabangan).
Elected councilors in the capital town of Bontoc are Viola Okko, Esteban Nguddo, Julian Chumacog, Herman Farnican, Alsanyster Patingan, Alfredo Awichen, Alexandre Claver, and Robert Dacyon.

In Sagada, the winning councilors include Felicito Dula, Peter Tauli, David Tallusen Buyagan, Dave Gullian, Joseph Aclopen, Ezra Wadingan, Jerry Ticag, and Milton Tawali. – With reports from Angel Baybay and Lycha Marra


Tanod killed, 2 hurt in gunfight between Abra mayoral bets’ henchmen

LAGAYAN, Abra -- A barangay tanod was killed while two others were wounded here when supporters of mayoralty candidates Jendrix Luna and Edmarc Crisologo exchanged fire May 9 around 7:30 a.m. 
The incident resulted in the killing of Manuel Zacarias 49 and wounding of Randy Viloria, both supporters of Luna and wounding of Joel Almazan Donato, 41, a supporter of Crisologo.
Investigation disclosed that a group of 10 supporters of Crisologo were on their way to vote when the group of Zacarias and Viloria allegedly accosted them which resulted in a heated altercation between Viloria and a certain Rhil Andres. After which, a gunshot was heard which was followed by exchange of gun fire from both sides.
Police searched all individuals at the polling place and confiscated from the following persons the following items: Merly Cabangan, 53, Cal. 25, magazine, 8 bullets; Charlyn Mae Galero, 38, Cal. 38, 14 ammunitions; Simay Alucday, 27, Cal. 45, six bullets; Rhil Andres, 36, Cal 45, three magazines with eight ammunition; John Lord Bella,  21, shotgun, green Nissan Frontier; Rochelle Donato, 20, 9mm pistol and Eva Alucday, 27, Cal. 45, one one magazine with seven bullets.
Police found 14 fired Cal. 45 bullets and an empty shell for 16 rifle.
A clearing operation conducted by members of 24Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army resulted in recovery of an M16 Colt rifle with long magazine loaded with 22 live ammunition and 40MM M203 grenade launcher.

All arrestged suspects were brought to Abra Provincial Police Office where charges were prepared against them. 


Pangasinan bettor gets P44.2 million lotto winnings

A 29-year-old single mother from Pangasinan has claimed the jackpot of the 6/45 Mega Lotto drawn on April 29, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) announced Thursday.
Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, PCSO general manager, said the woman, who is jobless, hit the six-digit winning combination 11-23-33-37-44-45, which had the jackpot of P44,258,488.
The winner said she bet for lucky pick or computer-generated combinations.

Rojas said the winner plans to buy a house and lot, invest in business and save for the future of her children.


Chavit now councilor in Narvacan

By Jun Elias

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson has been elected councilor of Narvacan town.
Chavit got the fourth highest votes among the eight members of the Sangguniang Bayan.
He withdrew his certificate of candidacy for vice governor on Dec. 15 to give way to his younger brother Board Member Jerry Singson, and substituted for Narvacan council bet Epifania Canaria.
Chavit earlier transferred his residency from Vigan City to Barangay Sulvec in Narvacan.
His son Ryan was elected governor.
Several members of the Singson clan also won the elections.
Chavit’s cousin Rep. Eric Singson was reelected congressman in the second district while his nephew Ericson Singson was elected mayor of Candon City.
Jimboy Singson was elected provincial board member; John Patrick Singson, Vigan City councilor, and Alfonso Singson, Candon vice mayor.

Carlo Medina, eldest son of Vigan Mayor Eva Marie Singson-Medina, was elected Vigan mayor.


OMB dismisses graft case against JHMC officials

By Melody Brawner 

BAGUIO CITY — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has dismissed charges of malversation, violation of the Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019), oppression, misconduct and violation of Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act 6713) against two executives of the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) filed by former and current employees.
In a joint resolution consolidating all the above mentioned cases, Carpio-Morales  dismissed April 20 all cases against JHMC president and chief executive officer (CEO) Jamie Eloise M. Agbayani and former vice president and chief operations officer Mita Angela M. Dimalanta filed by Arthur Leonardo B. Odsey and Melquiades D. Bada, both former employees of JHMC, and Benjamin P. Quinio Jr,  still an employee at JHMC.
Anjuli Larla A. Tan-Eneran, Graft Investigation  and Prosecution  Officer  II of the Office of the Ombudsman, on Nov. 9 , 2015 wrote “considering the lack of probable cause for Malversation and/ or violation of RA  3019, respondents cannot likewise be held administratively liable since the alleged criminal acts were also the bases of the administrative charges imputed against them. With regard to the alleged oppressive and dictatorial acts of respondents, it appears from the records that respondents only imposed the appropriate actions they deemed fit for the situation and all in good faith. Mere error in judgment, if any, cannot be automatically characterized as oppressive or misconduct,” the joint resolution said.
Adding, “the complaints for malversation, violation of RA 3019 and 6713, oppression, misconduct filed against respondents Jamie Eloise M. Agbayani and Mita Angela M. Dimalanta is dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.”
“This is clearly a vindication for me. I came back to Baguio mainly to serve and to give back to the city that I love. When I was new at JHMC, I wanted to institute reforms in the organization in line with good governance. Unfortunately it did not sit well with some employees who tried to undermine all my efforts, fabricated stories, and filed cases against me. I am grateful  that in the end, truth prevailed.” Agbayani said.
Agbayani, a medical doctor by profession, was raised and educated in Baguio (from pre-school to college).
Tan-Eneran, in the resolution said that allegations that Agbayani charged gasoline and meals to host meetings are all above board and does not violate any laws or rules.
The Ombudsman also agreed that as head of the JHMC and a member of the Board of Directors, she is entitled to travel, representation, and communication  expenses of a certain amount per month, aside from expenses incurred as President travelling to the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) headquarters in Taguig City as well as attend  official meetings and  appearances outside the BCDA Head Office.
The Ombudsman also added that "Dimalanta’s admonishing some subordinates including complainant Odsey, were all properly made to correct lapses in the performance of their official duties.”
With the reforms made that led to this case, Agbayani instituted changes.
About five years later, JHMC in March 2016 obtained an ISO 9001:2008 registration from AJA registrars for its Quality Management System in recognition of its achievement of an elevated capacity for quality public governance.
Agbayani said the five years of putting systems in place will directly benefit the people that JHMC serves. "Ensuring efficient, transparent, and accessible delivery of quality public service are the key elements of the strategic governance framework of the Corporation, JHMC is committed to abide by its accredited Quality Management Syatem that is responsive to the needs of its stakeholders".

 Agbayani in her term as president and CEO of JHMC has achieved major reforms and milestones in development goals and objectives.


BC turns over 11.6-hectares to Itogon folks in landslide

ITOGON, Benguet – The management of Benguet Corporation formally turned over to 46 residents, affected by the sudden subsidence in Camanggaan, Virac here more than 11 hectares of its mining claims within the company’s timberyard for their permanent relocation site.
Lawyer Froilan Roger C. Lawilao, BC administration department head, said the turnover last week was part of its corporate social responsibility in ensuring safety of people living in communities of their working areas in the municipality.
            “We have to sustain our commitment for the safety of the villages living within our working areas as part of a responsible mining company. We have to go out of our way to ensure that the individuals who were affected by the subsidence in Camanggaan will have a safer place to stay,” Lawilao said.
           Sometime last year, a natural land subsidence occurred in sitio Camanggaan, Virac at the height of continuous heavy rains that resulted to displacement of some 46 residents who built their houses in the area.
            Experts from various government agencies and the local government conducted a study on the real cause of the subsidence and official findings concluded that the fractured soil and rock formation that weathered through the years aggravated by the huge volume of water caused by the continuous heavy rains caused the subsidence.
            Lawilao said even without conclusive findings pointing to the company’s mining operations as the culprit behind the sudden subsidence, the company decided to identify the 11.6-hectare area within its timberyard and extracted the same from its mining claims to be issued as permanent relocation site for the displaced residents as part of its continuing commitment for the general welfare of the people living within its mining operations.
            He assured municipal and barangay officials who were present during turnover ceremonies of the land to the beneficiaries and concerned local officials that the company will continue to find ways and means on how to extend further assistance to them for the development of the property and the eventual establishment of a community in the area in the future.
            Mayor Victorio Palangdan said the municipal government will look into allowable means on how to extend possible assistance to the displaced residents and undertakes the responsibility for the immediate subdivision and development of the place where they will be permanently located so that they will not be exposed to extreme danger during the occurrence of natural and man-made calamities.

Lawilao said the company will continue to closely work with barangay and municipal officials as well as local residents living in their mining sites in order to sustain the promotion of responsible mining among the various small-scale mining associations for the preservation and protection of the environment.


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