Other Stories (01/28/15)

Posted on January 28, 2015

Parallel ambush probe

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice is thinking of putting up a parallel investigation in Manila on the December ambush on the convoy of Iligan City Rep. Vicente “Varf” F. Belmonte, Jr., which left three of his security escorts dead. Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima issued the statement as her agency officially released on Tuesday the findings of the National Bureau of Investigation which led to the filing of murder charges against Iligan City Mayor Celso G. Regencia and 15 others.

Flight’s technical issues

MACTAN, CEBU -- A Cebu Pacific Air plane had to return to the Mactan Cebu International Airport in Central Visayas after it developed technical problems midway to Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao yesterday morning. All passengers and crew were safe, said Estée Marie P. Plunket, corporate affairs head of airport operator GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC). Flight 5J203 carried 155 adult passengers, an infant and crew. “It left Mactan at about 8:20 a.m. and it was already airborne by about 20 minutes when it had to turn back due to a technical problem,” Ms. Plunket said. A Cebu-Cagayan de Oro flight takes about 40 minutes. In an advisory issued at noon yesterday, the airline said Flights 5J203/204, Cebu-Cagayan de Oro-Cebu, were canceled “due to a technical problem on the assigned aircraft.” Affected passengers were given the following options: take the soonest available flight, rebook flights for travel within 30 days from the original departure date, or get a travel fund or full refund. The airline’s ground crew said the aircraft was undergoing “additional servicing” at the Mactan airport as of 1 p.m. yesterday.

Davao City vote-buying?

DAVAO CITY -- Datu Larry Cabaguio, one of the seven bets who lost in the recent election for the Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) to the city council, is alleging that the process was marred by vote-buying. “There were payoffs,” Mr. Cabaguio said in the vernacular in an interview but he stopped short of naming who was involved, noting that he is an uncle of the winning candidate. The new IPMR is 22-year-old Bai Halila Sudagar, the lone female candidate and a former Sangguniang Kabataan council representative, who was elected by a Council of Elders of the Kagan tribe. Alim Sulayman Piang, assistant director of the Comprehensive Madrasah program of the city and a member of the Council of Elders, denied the accusation saying in the vernacular: “I haven’t received any money nor witnessed any payoff. However, Mr. Piang did question the election of a woman leader.

Aquino, Arroyo the same

A MISSION led by the International Federation of Journalists-Asia-Pacific said that the administration of President Benigno S. C. Aquino III is no different from his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in terms of response to the killing of journalists. In the report “Ampatuan Massacre: Five Years On” by the International Solidarity Mission, Mike Dobbie of Australia’s Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance said that “impunity has gripped the Philippines over the years and this has been exacerbated by ongoing government inaction, despite several changes of government and election promises that have not been fulfilled.” He cited statistics, where Mrs. Arroyo’s record was one journalist killed every 48 days (leaving out the outlier that was the Maguindanao Massacre). “President Aquino’s average for his term of office beginning in mid-2010 and up to the massacre anniversary in 2014 is also one journalist killed every 48 days,” he said. “There is no difference between the Arroyo and Aquino administrations in terms of combating the murder of journalists.”