Domogan: No ‘cover-up on slay of vendor’ by POSD men

>> Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By Dexter A. See and Paul Rillorta

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan said there will be no cover-up in the killing of an ambulant vendor here allegedly by members of the city’s Public Order Safety Division.  

Domogan said he directed the Baguio City Police Office and the POSD to complete investigation on the death of Oscar Caranto, 52 of Basista, Pangasinan allegedly in the hands of POSD men.

He said investigation should be done so future action of the city government will evolve around what really transpired that led to the vendor’s death.

Caranto was allegedly mauled June 24 at the POSD office at the public market then later at the main police station by POSD men.

He died June 27 at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center

 “We will not cover up the involvement of the POSD personnel in the alleged mauling of the ambulant vendor that resulted to his death but we must first await the outcome of the on-going investigation of the incident before we come out with conclusions,” Domogan said.

This, as he said the controversy will not affect anti-peddling campaign of local government to clear sidewalks, parks and public market from illegal vendors that constrict narrow streets of the central business district.

Domogan ordered the members of the city’s anti-peddling team to intensify anti-peddling operations around the city’s central business district since no vending is allowed along sidewalks, streets and even in the city public market pursuant to the zero vending policy of the Baguio-Boracay Re-development Task Force.

The city mayor said it is very important for all sectors await outcome of the investigation because there are important considerations which must be taken into account that will shed light on what really caused the death of Caranto.

He said the unfortunate incident was an isolated case and will not significantly affect the city’s anti-peddling operations considering the people of Baguio and visitors have appreciated the gains of such operations in reducing overcrowding at the public market and the occurrence of pickpocket incidents the past months.

He declined the recommendation of some city officials to adopt an “open market policy” to allow ambulant vendors to have their own source of income, saying that the city government was able to rid the city’s streets and markets with ambulant vendors, thus, there is no room for the local government to bring back chaos on city streets.

Domogan urged ambulant vendors to strictly adhere to the city’s zero vending policy along major roads, sidewalks and even in parks so they will not be apprehended by POSD personnel.

He said most of the time, it is the vendors that attack the anti-peddling enforcers that usually result to violent incidents.

The implementation of the anti-peddling drive in the city’s public market netted P104,000.00 in fines from ambulant vendors here in a month.

The period covered June 1 to 30 this year. Ambulant vendors caught violating the city’s anti-peddling ordinance were apprehended with their respective goods confiscated by members of the Public Order and Safety Division.

Confiscated goods are released after payment of P1,000.00 fine to the City Treasury Office while unclaimed goods are given to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other charitable institutions for disposal.

Meantime, a dialogue between POSD personnel and officials and members of the different market vendors organizations was conducted July 11 headed by the mayor and market trade and commerce chair councilor Elaine Sembrano.

Vendors cried foul over the system of apprehension being employed by some POSD personnel wherein no warning is done before apprehension.

Domogan said, “This could be avoided if only market vendors abide by the regulation that there would be strictly no selling in prohibited areas such as streets and roads and advised them to police their own ranks.”

“The POSD is there to implement the ordinance, if you are caught blatantly disobeying the law then there would be a problem,” he said. 

The mayor also ordered the POSD men to observe maximum tolerance in dealing with ambulant vendors and to inventory in detail goods which are being confiscated to avoid complications.

“This ordinance was never intended to stop vendors from doing their business, we want you to practice your livelihood in a legal way that is why we have designated areas where you can ply your trade,” Domogan said.


EMB: Solon violated laws in excavation of mountain

BAGUIO CITY – Rep. NicasioAliping Jr. has admitted to excavation activities on the mountain leading to his family property in Santo Tomas, Tuba, Benguet, according to the Environment Management Bureau.

Aliping was linked to the massive destruction of a portion of the Mount Sto. Tomas forest reservation which he has insisted to be his claim.

He  is now questioning investigating agencies on why he is being singled out in the filing of a number of administrative and criminal charges against him in relation to the destruction of the environmentally critical area.

EMB public information officer Susan Nisperos, said Thursday Aliping admitted to the excavation activities during Monday’s technical conference called by the agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

As such, Nisperos said Aliping had violated Section IV of Presidential Decree 1586 known as the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement ((EIS) System relative to his excavation project which was implemented without the necessary permit, like the Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC).

It led to the destruction of the water source of the Baguio Water District (BWD), she said.

Aliping, who committed to stop such activities and pay the appropriate penalties, reportedly also admitted that his application for a permit with the municipal government of Tuba was denied.

Aliping,, in an interview with reporters inside his office late Wednesday afternoon, said land development activities within his 28,885-square meter claim within the forest reservation was just contributory to the reported massive destruction of the environment in the area that has polluted the Amlian river and the shutdown of the three springs of the Baguio Water District (BWD) serving as one of the major sources of potable water supply for almost 30 percent of the population of the city.

“Why only me?  was the question raised by Aliping to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and EMB which are handling the cases of violation of the provisions of Presidential Decree (PD) 705 now pending with the Benguet prosecutor’s office and violation of PD 1586 pending with the EMB-CAR, respectively.

He said aside from his land development activities within his claim, other environmentally destructive activities within the Mount Sto. Tomas forest reservation are the reported small-scale mining operations, massive expansion of commercial vegetable farms by the people living in the villages and the road development of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) leading to the different telecommunication relay stations within the reservation.

Aliping said he was being reportedly singled out in the environmental destruction charges because of his current position as his actuations should be based on norms and conduct of a public official.

Aliping used as a basis of his defense a letter dated 13 May 2014 of Engr. Salvador Royeca, BWD general manager, addressed to Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentres, where he detailed that the land development of the lawmaker was just one of the contributory factors causing the pollution of the Amlian river and the springs because of the unabated dumping of debris within parts of the water impounding facilities.

Aliping and three property developers are being linked to the felling of over 1,000 assorted trees and saplings and the massive excavation works within the forest reservation for the put up of a road leading to his supposed property which is being planned to be converted into an eco-park.

He admitted introducing improvements within his claim but repeatedly denied knowledge about the road development works leading to his claimed property where the felled trees and saplings were planted.

Aliping also blamed his still unidentified project engineer for his alleged wrong decisions in the land development of his claim that resulted to him being blamed for the illegal cutting of trees and massive excavation works of the road in the area and that he had already fired his employee.

He claimed the units of heavy equipment seen working in the area were borrowed from contractors, BLC Construction and Aggregates, RUA Aquino Construction and Development and Goldrich Construction.

Paquito Moreno, DENR-CAR regional director, denied insinuations of Aliping that the agency has not done anything to stop the small-scale mining and commercial vegetable farm expansions within the 3,000-hectare Mount Sto. Tomas forest reservation that was decalred as an environmentally critical area in July 1940.

“The problem in Mount Sto. Tomas is complex but we have initially done a thorough investigation of existing works in the area that resulted to the submission of a forest land use plan to the Tuba municipal government for consideration,” Moreno stressed.

Moreno said the DENR-CAR is simply awaiting the appropriate action of the Tuba municipal council on the pending proposed forest land use plan because the local government has to approve the same and provide the necessary inputs in order to improve the implementation of the plan.

“Our investigation has already bee in place but it was overtaken by events, especially when the issue on the massive tree cutting and illegal excavation works of Aliping had been exposed by the media,” Moreno said.

During the excavation, some two months ago, around a thousand trees were reportedly cut for a project which led to outcry from concerned Baguio and Benguet residents and officials.

Charges have already been filed against Aliping and three contractors for this.

The Baguio congressman has yet to answer allegations filed against him in court for illegal logging among others as he filed a motion for extension to answer such charges.  – With a report from Dexter See


Mt Prov LGUs, folks urged: Report erring contractors

By Pamela F. Dungala

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Local folks and officials were urged by the provincial Highways office here last week to inform the latter even through text messages of projects and activities of contractors which they deemed not conforming to standards.

Mountain Province District Engineering Office officials bared this as they activated  monitoring committees of local government units of the province through an orientation-workshop at the MPDEO on July 17.

This would strengthen monitoring of infrastructure projects through participation of the community which is also a kick-off of the Re-Entry Project (ReP) of the MPDEO.

The ReP entitled “Strengthening the monitoring of infrastructure projects in Mountain Province through community participation” is a requirement of the Public Management Development Program (PMDP) of the National Government’s Career Executive Service Development Program, through Charles C. Sokoken, assistant district engineer.

This project is also aligned with the DPWH’s accomplishments specifically “Enhanced citizen’s participation in governance” through closer project inspection and monitoring of infrastructure projects.

In his message, District Engineer Wilbur Likigan encouraged participants to activate their monitoring bodies.

Being beneficiaries of these infrastructure projects, it is hoped that we involve ourselves in the monitoring of these projects, Likigan said.

Further, MLGOO Nena Simongo of DILG-Tadian cited provisions of Executive Order No. 93 series of 1993 and DILG Memorandum Circular 2004-78 stipulating each LGU should create a local project monitoring committee to monitor implementation of all national and local projects within their areas.

Participants were oriented on basics of pre-detailed engineering, construction methods and techniques, quality standards and specifications and road network maintenance activities.

Meanwhile, Sokoken, project manager of the ReP said he is thankful for the cooperation of the members of the provincial project monitoring committee (PPMC), municipal project monitoring committees (MPMCs) and LGUs.

The pilot project for the ReP will be the CY 2014 rehabilitation/reconstruction/upgrading project along  Dantay-Sagada National Road which was just started, Sokoken said.


Jeep figures in Pinukpuk accident: 4 killed, 1 critically hurt inTabuk road mishap

TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Four people were killed while one was critically injured following a head on collision between a tricycle loaded with students and a speeding passenger van along the provincial road of the village of Appas here evening of July 13.

Supt. Francisco Bulwayan, city police chief identified the fatalities as tricycle driver Marco Tamayo and his passengers Michael Bactad, JomelLacuarta and AbegailBelgica.

In critical condition at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital was Shanee Mae Belgica the latter's sister.

Reports said the white van driven by a certain Kerubin Winnie Banosan was overtaking another vehicle when he collided with the tricycle of the victims on the opposite lane.

Police said the collision detached the tricycle's sidecar from the motorcycle and were both thrown on a ricefield after being dragged almost 40 meters from the point of impact since the van did nor reduce speed or stop.

Witnesses took the van's plate number as BVS 594 and was later known to be registered to a certain Lydia Sipsip.

Authorities have placed the van driver under manhunt after he fled from the site.

“Our police operatives are now conducting manhunt operation against the driver who fled,” said Senior Supt. Victor Wanchakan, Kalinga Police Provincial Office director, referring to Kerubin.

Wanchakan said probers have a witness from a single motorcycle tailing the victims’ tricycle, who claimed that the van had veered to the opposite lane to overtake a Pajero when it rammed into the tricycle.

Earlier, three people were hurt after their passenger jeep overturned in the mountainous village of Limos, Pinukpuk, Kalinga. 

Police said driver Vicente Dumag 31 lost control of the steering wheel while negotiating downhill of a loosely graveled road before it overturned.

Hurt were Dumag and his passengers Jinky Palangdao 26, a midwife; and Emilda Agustin 47.


Igorot cop int’l mixed martial arts winner cited by PNP

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad Benguet -- Crisanto G. Pitpitunge, an Igorot mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, was awarded by top regional police brass here for winning the Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) International Fight via unanimous decision 30-27 against Saipan’s Josh Duenas on July 27, 2014 in Guam, USA.

Cordillera police director Chief Supt. IsaganiNerez, pinned the MedalyangKasanayan to Police Officer 1 Pitpitunge, 27, a native of Kapangan, Benguet, a Criminology graduate from the University of the Cordilleras.

Pitpitunge is now assigned at the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB).

Nerez said Pitpitunge was awarded for “demonstrating high sense of hard work and determination to excel and win in his fight against Saipan’s MMA fighter. His triumph in the field of mixed martial arts showcased PRO-Cordillera’s expertise in combat sports and in promoting healthy lifestyle and fitness.”

Pitpitunge is now holder of the No. 1 contender in flyweight division and was a bantamweight MMA champion in the Pacific Xtreme Combat (PXC) last year.

 He started as gold medalist playing Wushu in the Local and National Games since 2008 under Baguio Benguet Educational Athlete League (BBEAL).

After a year, he enhanced his skills by joining Team Lakay and played mixed martial arts in the Universal Reality Combat Challenge (URCC) garnering 6 wins and 3 losses.

In wushu competitions, he won 2 gold and a silver medal and awarded  Athlete of the year by the University of Cordilleras.

 Determined to excel in sports, he entered the police service on July 2, 2012 when he won as bantamweight champion and awarded as Fighter of the Year by Kafagway Awards.

 Nerez proudly pitpitunge for his remarkable achievement, wherein he exemplified the true  value of sportsmanship worthy of praise by his colleagues in the service.

He said Pitpitunge will be a motivation to other police fighters to excel in their field of expertise.


3 Pangasinan execs axed for payroll padding

MANGALDAN, Pangasinan – For payroll padding, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has dismissed from government service this town’s accountant, treasurer and her assistant.

In a 33-page decision issued last June 26 and signed by CSC-Region 1 director Nestor Sarmiento, municipal accountant Evelyn Bernabe, municipal treasurer Susana Bauzon and assistant municipal treasurer Marilyn Gonzales were found guilty of grave misconduct.

Gonzales, according to CSC, committed irregularities in preparing padded checks while Bernabe and Bauzon tolerated it by failing to perform their duties of safeguarding the finances of the municipal government.

The CSC said the failure of Bernabe and Bauzon to notice the irregularities in several payrolls for several months is highly inexcusable, making the agency conclude that they indeed knew such wrongdoing but did not do anything to prevent them.

“Millions were unlawfully taken from government funds and substantial evidence point to the three respondents as the persons responsible,” the CSC said.

“Public service requires utmost integrity and strictest discipline… Respondents clearly failed to observe this exacting standard in the case herein,” it added.

Gonzales, according to the CSC, encashed the padded checks that she had prepared, and that the excess amounts were not duly accounted for or liquidated.

Gonzales, in her comment on Sept. 7, 2012, claimed that she “acted only upon the instructions of my superior officers to perform such task.”

“That although the charges against us are generally true, I have acted however under a strong impulse of an uncontrollable fear of my superior officers…,” she added.

For her part, Bernabe said that as far as she knew, it was solely Gonzales who had the duty to prepare and encash checks and she had no hand in this.

Bauzon, meanwhile, said she neither acquiesced to nor concurred with Gonzales’ wrongdoing of padding the payroll checks.

But the CSC said it found it hard to believe that Bernabe and Bauzon “were not able to notice such alterations perpetrated in several payrolls for almost every month in 2011 and the early months of 2012.”

The CSC said it is convinced that the two knew the irregularities committed by Gonzales “but simply closed their eyes.” 

The formal charge against the three Mangaldan officials stemmed from a complaint filed in May 2012 before the CSC regional office by the late mayor Herminio Romero based on a notice of disallowances.


2 ex-soldiers charged in slay of vice mayor’s brod

TUGUEGARAO CITY , Cagayan – Police have filed murder charges before the Department of Justice against two former Army soldiers for the July 3 killing of a village councilman-brother of the vice mayor of Pamplona, Cagayan.

Senior Supt. Gregorio Lim, Cagayan police director, withheld identities of the two suspects who allegedly gunned down Barangay Cabaggan councilman Edmund Ifurung, younger brother of Vice Mayor Edwin Ifurung.

According to police reports, the younger Ifurung was resting in front of his gasoline station when two of three ski mask-wearing men alighted from a motorcycle and fired at him several times with .45-caliber pistols.

Ifurung died from 13 bullet wounds, and his killers took his .45-caliber pistol before fleeing, police said.

Two helpers at the gasoline station recognized the killers but refused to cooperate with investigators, as they feared for their safety because the gunmen are believed to be “henchmen” of a “big personality,” said Senior Insp. Mario Tuliao, Pamplona police chief.

Tuliao said Ifurung had been cleared of alleged involvement in drug trafficking and gun-for-hire activities before he was absorbed in the police and military intelligence communities.

Tuliao said they were looking into Ifurung’s latest tussle with a Chinese black sand mining company from which he seized supposedly hot timber being used to construct its office in his jurisdiction.


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